Enjoy the “Old School Laguna” vibe on Saturday in the HIP District

Get ready for a fun event in Laguna Beach this weekend. The HIP District will celebrate “Old School Laguna” from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 30 with live music, giveaways, special sales, and drawings.

“The shops on South Coast Hwy between Thalia Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive banded together several years ago to form the HIP District, also referred to by some shop owners and locals as ‘The Cool Part of Town,’ to promote their businesses. HIP stands for Historic and Interesting Places. Tourists and locals have slowly discovered the area, which gets more popular every year. In order to acknowledge the community’s support, the merchants in the HIP District are presenting Old School Laguna Day,” says event organizer and Twig owner Susan Elliott.

Enjoy the Pottery Place

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

The Old Pottery Place is located within the HIP District and is poised for a happening event on Saturday, including a performance by Steve at Beth Wood of Honk from 2 to 4 p.m.

“The event kicks off with a ribbon cutting with the mayor at noon at the Soul Project, and will include live music (The Sound Spectrum, Kiska, The Old Pottery Place, The Art Center, and Twig), giveaways, and special sales throughout the day at more than 30 shops and restaurants. Most importantly, the old school character of Laguna will be celebrated – meaning classic rock, surfboards, turntables, pictures, posters and vintage vibes from Laguna’s past. More information will be available in the HIP District shops where customers can pick up a schedule of events and a bingo/passport which can be filled up and entered in a raffle.”

The live music schedule for the day includes: Foolish Dog at Sound Spectrum from noon to 2 p.m., Marlena Headrick at Kiska from 1 to 3 p.m., Steve and Beth Wood of Honk at The Old Pottery Place from 2 to 4 p.m., Jerry Clovis & Associates at the Art Center from 3 to 5 p.m., and Ghost of Belle Star at Twig from 4 to 6 p.m.

Sales and special offers include a free trucker hat with any purchase of $40 or more at Thalia Surf Shop, a gift with any purchase at Twig of Laguna, one month of free spin classes at Art of Fitness (9 a.m. weekday classes only), 40 percent off select children’s books at Laguna Beach Books, 20 percent of everything at Sound Spectrum, “buy one get one free” at Subway, and a gift with any purchase at Huit Laguna and The Soul Project, among many other specials and sales.

The HIP District is located from Thalia Street to Bluebird Canyon. “Old School Laguna” participants will be identified by the display of a clutch of purple balloons.

For more information, visit the Facebook event invite here.

Dennis’ Tidbits


April 12, 2019

Lots of rain and snow and a look back

Dennis 5The calendar says it’s April but try convincing people from the Pacific Northwest to Denver to Minneapolis and all points in between. Relentless cold rains are battering the Northwest and full on blizzard conditions with up to two feet of snow with 60 mph winds and absolute zero visibilities are making things downright dangerous to even drive a block in other places! That’s why we live here!

The snowpack in the Sierras is now at around 175 percent of normal, so they’re set for the year as far as available water is concerned.

Local surface ocean temps are on the downswing as strong gusty northwest winds are resulting in widespread upwelling. That super bright object in the pre-dawn eastern sky is the planet Venus.

On this date in 1975, Laguna recorded its coldest April low temp on record with 35 in town and 30 out in the Canyon, the latest date of the season with freezing temps out there.

Laguna’s rainfall to date for the 2018-19 season is at 17.27 inches, well above the normal to date of 12.98 inches. Last year at this time, we were at a measly 4.32 inches. Last season’s total was a paltry 4.71 inches, the fourth driest on record. The driest was 3.71 in 2006-07. The second driest was 4.30 in 1960-61 and the third driest was 4.42 in 2001-02.

Going way back into the 1800s, it was found that Downtown L.A.’s wettest season was 1883-84 with 40.06 inches. The driest for L.A. was 3.41 inches in 2006-07. 

The winter of 1844-45 saw up to four inches of snow there.

In September of 1858, a Category 2 hurricane made landfall near San Diego thanks to a powerful El Nino that saw water temps soar to 80 degrees, which fueled that storm and enabled it to maintain hurricane strength all the way up to latitude 33 degrees north. Hardly anyone was around way back then but if that event happened now, it would be total chaos. That kind of event will surely happen again someday. We just don’t know when but nowadays there will be more than sufficient warnings. 

Have a great weekend. It should be a nice one, ALOHA!

Guest Column

1570 Fayette Place: A History

By Catharine Cooper

My father, Crofton Cooper, purchased the then three-plus acre property on Fayette Place in 1958/59. There was no road to the property – and the City told him if he wanted a road, then he had darn well better build and pave one. 

He had plans drafted to build a beautiful Cape Cod-style home, but the City would not give him a building permit. At the time of purchase, the land was mostly “steep slope” – and he was told there was no building pad (this was before the days of drill-down caissons for support). So, Dad being Dad, he went in the dark of night with some of his from-across-the-border help, dropped in some light force dynamite, and blew out the side of the hill. His good friend, Verdugo (father of John?), helped him bulldoze a pad. He went back to the city, and voila! A house rose on a lot with stunning vistas in all directions. 

1570 Fayette father

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Submitted photo

Catharine’s father, Crofton Cooper, builder of 1570 Fayette Place in 1959

Then came the pool fiasco. Dad was not well loved at the City – as you can imagine – and the inspector on the job did not like him one bit. When he came to approve the rebar in the swimming pool structure, he claimed it was a quarter of an inch off, and made dad re-do the entire pool – twice! Not too much fun.

And then there was the water. The slope was basically barren chaparral. Dad planted eucalyptus – and more eucalyptus – he so wanted shade and privacy. All those trees took water (along with the rest of the acreage and the pool). The city line at that time was so small and Dad couldn’t get enough water to fill a pond – or a bathtub. The Irvine Company owned the land behind the house and was running cattle there. Yes, we had plenty of moo-moo mornings and evenings – and even had some slip through the fence and graze on the grass. 

1570 Fayette pool

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Submitted photo

Catharine Cooper with her grandfather in 1964 in front of the property’s completed pool

But they also had a water tank just behind the garage. Dad simply tapped into the tank – and voila! Water! The water company couldn’t figure out why the meter kept going backwards, and replaced it several times, until finally, the jig – or the water – was up, and bigger pipes and a bigger pump were finally installed.

I was 10 years old when we moved into the house – and it was incredible! The Dunsmore tract was not yet built, and I spent those early years running through the chaparral with coyotes, lizards, rattlesnakes, and an occasional bobcat as my companions. 

The real estate market crashed out around the middle of 1964 and the house had to be sold. Listing price in 1965? $150,000. 

(Editor’s Note: 1570 Fayette Place was donated last year to youth mentoring nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire, and recently sold for $10.375 million. Local realtor Meital Taub was the listing agent for the property and also donated her commission to the nonprofit.)

Studies in yellow and purple

Photos by Scott Brashier

Studies in yellow and purple

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Wildflowers in pole position

Studies in monet

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A pointillist’s dream

studies in scotland

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Purple wildflowers pretty as Scottish heather

Mayor Bob Whalen to address Laguna Canyon Conservancy on May 13

The next Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LLC) dinner meeting will be held Monday, May 13 and will feature guest speaker Mayor Bob Whalen. The LCC dinner meetings are now at Seven 7 Seven (formerly Tivoli Too!). 

Bob Whalen is a six-year member of the Laguna Beach City Council, and this year once again was elected mayor by his fellow councilmembers. Mayor Whalen has convened the Mayor’s Subcommittee on Wildfire Safety and Mitigation to develop an action plan to improve safety from wildfires, which will be released in July.

Concerned that power lines and poles are the single biggest threat to Laguna Beach’s public safety, Mayor Whalen provided the leadership developing a plan for undergrounding utilities citywide. 

Mayor Bob hall

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Submitted photo

Mayor Bob Whalen will speak at LCC’s May 13 meeting

In addition to his service on the City Council, Whalen has served four years on the Planning Commission, 10 years on the School Board, and has been president of SchoolPower, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, and Laguna Beach Little League.

The event is open to the public; reservations are required and space is limited. A no-host bar starts at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 6:30 and the program at 7:30. 

Parking is available at the old “Christmas Tree” lot, now City Lot Number 7. Also after 5 p.m., free parking is available in the parking spaces marked Fuse, the building inland of Seven 7 Seven.

Dues to LCC are $20 per person per calendar year. Dinner tickets are $15 for members or $20 for non-members, and may be paid at the door with prior reservations. 

Reservations can be made at www.lagunacanyonconservancy.org, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or calling Linda Mayer at (714) 812-6813.

Seven 7 Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Boys & Girls Club Pancake Breakfast 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Boys and playing

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In honor of its 15th anniversary, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s Bluebird Branch held its annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast at Bluebird Park

Boys and crowd

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Crowd enjoys beautiful weather

Boys and girl

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A hand-painted unicorn to celebrate the occasion

Laguna Beach Firefighters flip again for the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Memorial Day at Heisler Park

Last year over 800 people attended the Pancake Breakfast presented by the Laguna Beach Exchange Club in honor of Memorial Day. Again this year, Laguna Beach Firefighters will be on hand to flip hundreds of pancakes from 7 a.m. until 10:30 at Heisler Park. The cost of breakfast is $6.

Laguna Beach chefs

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Firefighters busy at work during last year’s Pancake Breakfast, including Pat Cary (front)

Originally held on May 30, Memorial Day was moved in 1970 to the last Monday in May and declared a national holiday in 1971. It marks the unofficial start of summer while Labor Day marks its end.

The Firefighters want to thank their sponsors – White House Restaurant, Mozambique, and Skyloft – for their support. 

Heisler Park is located at 375 Cliff Dr.

Congratulations, Alexis!

Congratulations Alexis

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Congratulations to Stu News writer Alexis Amaradio, an all-around amazing person, for her acceptance to USC after two years of hard work at a local community college. Alexis will be majoring in Public Relations through USC’s Annenberg School. Fight on…USC is lucky to have you joining their community!

Descending fog 

Descending fog city

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The fog comes/in on little cat feet/It sits looking/over harbor and city/on silent haunches/and then moves on…Carl Sandburg

Whales return to Hotel Laguna 

Whales return Hasty

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Courtesy of Laguna Creative Ventures 

Hasty Honarkar of 4G Ventures with Artist Robert Wyland as he paints temporary “Whaling Wall” mural on Thursday in parking lot of Hotel Laguna, below his gallery

Whales return painting

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Courtesy of Laguna Creative Ventures 

Original whale mural of a mother and calf were painted over in 1996

Whales return Mary

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

Wyland will be working on the mural through August, read the full story behind the return of the whales in Tuesday’s edition

Spotlights of sun

Spotlights of ocean

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Rays of light trying to break through the clouds

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi says, “You know you’ve seen these doors!” 

Now, the question is, “Where?” 

Send your answers in 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 26 19

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Harley’s Sunday “Grill” is a Perfect Ode to Summer

Story and photos by Diane Armitage

In yet another ode to the happy, growing-up years of our childhood, Harley’s Chef Greg Daniels has created a Sunday family-style “backyard BBQ” from 5 to 9 p.m.

If you’ve been around long enough to remember Three Seventy Common’s “Fried Chicken Sundays,” you will enjoy Harley’s similar take on family-style lovin’. 

When Chef Ryan Adams was in the space (that is now Harley’s), he created his Sunday family-style meals around memories of his grandmother. That spirit still remains intact, it seems, as Chef Greg notes special memories around his grandfather’s backyard barbecues.

Priced at $60 per person inclusive with tax and service, the “Grill and Get Together” menu claims three courses, but it’s really seven very hearty dishes. 

Several cocktails (including a “Painkiller Kombucha”) are offered as perfect pairs, but on Chef’s recommendations, my friend and I opted for the chilled Cabernet Franc “Lo-Fi,” which is expressly designed for chillin’.

Harley's Sunday Chef Daniels

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Chef Greg Daniels

A Table Loaded with Sunday Supper

Chef Greg says the items may change and shift as the weeks roll by, but this should give you a general idea of what I waded through this past Sunday evening:   

I could have stopped at the starter, Chef Greg’s house-baked buttery brioche roll. The food, however, just kept coming. 

After a bright watermelon and arugula salad, the Chef arrived at our table with a sheet pan nearly as large as the table. It was fully loaded with two sets of baby back ribs, a jumble of grilled chicken, and sides of baked beans and mac and cheese served up in their own cast iron skillets. 

While we came nowhere close to finishing our meal for two, we still managed to work our way through the entirety of dessert – warm summer berry rumble with a dollop of créme fraîche. 

Harley's Sunday Main Course

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Harley’s Sunday “Grill” is a perfect backyard BBQ without all the bugs

“We thought we would just test this out, but I’ve already got some new ideas for next week,” says Chef Greg. “I think it’s a great way to celebrate the end of summer and the start of our autumn months here in Laguna.”

If barbecue just isn’t your thing, Chef Greg will cook up another entrée item for you. The Sunday theme, though, was certainly the most popular guest at our fellow Harley tables. Chef says he will likely run the Sunday affair through September. Go to www.Harleylagunabeach.com to purchase tickets. 

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.

The Boys of Summer take it to the limit during Eagles tribute at Bluebird Park

Photos by Scott Brashier 

The Boys baby

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The Boys of Summer captivate the crowd – including a young fan 

The Boys picnic

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Now that’s a picnic!

The Boys dancing

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Life in the fast lane 

The Boys crowd

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The 2019 Music in the Park summer concert series concludes on August 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. with LA Sound Machine, a Gloria Estefan tribute band. The series is a function of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission and is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Please do not set up before 3 p.m. to allow children to enjoy the park prior to the concert. Bluebird Park is located at Bluebird Canyon Drive/Cress Street. Free trolley service is available to the park.

For more photos by Scott Brashier, see slideshow below:

Creature feature

“Living with Wildlife” workshop addresses concerns regarding community critters


On Wednesday evening at Alta Laguna Park, LBPD Animal Services Officer David Pietarila and LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres answered wildlife questions uppermost on the minds of the 12 residents who attended. Although the first items of concern were the alleged mountain lion sightings (from Wednesday, Aug 7 through Saturday, Aug 10), questions regarding snakes and coyotes were numerous as well.

Mountain lion reports

Officer Pietarila, who has worked with animals for 33 years, 17 of them with the Laguna Beach Police Department, took all three of the alleged mountain lion sighting calls and gave a quick rundown of each incident: August 7, the first call, (Virginia Way) was determined to be a video of a domestic cat; the second call on August 9 (Hidden Valley Canyon Road) gave a description and location of the reported cat that were both classic bobcat; the third call on August 10 (Hidden Valley Canyon Road) was anonymous without substantial information.

Officer Pietarila said, “There proved to be no mountain lion tracks, DNA, or scat.” He further explained, “There have been no confirmed mountain lion sightings [in Laguna Beach] since 2000.” 

Both Beres and Pietarila emphasized that it is almost impossible for a mountain lion to cross the 5 freeway.

Living with group

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Photo by Dianne Russell

(L-R) LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, Steve Joachim, Natalie Joachim, Animal Services Officer David Pietarila, and Nate Joachim

So many snakes and rabbits

“Rain creates more vegetation, and that brings vegetation eaters like rabbits and squirrels and that brings snakes and coyotes,” said Officer Pietarila, who gets one to two snake calls a day. “The California King and gopher snakes are non-venomous. The gopher snakes are actually beneficial because they eat rats. However, if the person reporting one on their property doesn’t want to keep them around, we relocate them.” 

As Animal Services does with rattlesnakes and King snakes as well. He suggests that if a resident spots a rattlesnake, to put a trashcan over it, so it doesn’t slither away, and the animal officer can find it.

Coyote concerns

The topic of coyotes drew the most concern.

If you encounter one, Pietarila advises, “Coyotes will stand their ground, and keep standing their ground. You have to decide to claim your space. You have three choices: Ignore it and decide to co-habitat, retreat, or claim your space.”

--Be aggressive, yell, clap hands, use harsh language, throw rocks, carry different things such as whistles, air cans that make a hissing sound, but vary them so the animals don’t become accustomed to the same sound 

--Vary the time of day and place you walk your dog and keep them on a six-foot leash. 

--Carry a stick or golf club

--Absolutely do not leave food out for them

Living with coyote

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Photo by Les Miklosy

Coyote spotted on Laguna fire road 

Officer Pietarila reassured the attendees that coyotes rarely go after humans. “There is a one in 30,000,000 chance of getting bitten by a coyote, and only one person a year in California is bitten by a coyote.” It is usually a case of life or death, and they’re backed into a corner.

A participant asked if coyotes are getting more aggressive.

“A few years ago, we had some changes in behavior,” Officer Pietarila said. “We think it was due to the drought. Coyotes have a rhythm, and the drought seems to have disrupted it and caused chaos. We were seeing pups at the wrong time of year.” 

Biggest threats aren’t wild

However, it seems as if we’re placing our fear of injury in the wrong place.

Evidently, it’s not the creatures out in the wild that cause the most animal calls or damage – those critters are right here among us.

Beres said, “Dog and cat bites account for 99 percent of the animal calls we get. We receive 40-50 dog bite reports – ones that require medical attention – a year.” 

To contact Animal Services, call (949) 497-0701.

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

With school now back in session, it is relevant to take a look back at our one and only high school, Laguna Beach High School. 

Few can recall that prior to the 1930s Laguna Beach teens had to travel by horse and buggy or Model Ts through the Canyon and across dirt roads to Tustin High School, over 20 miles away. But on September 11, 1934 – now one week shy of its 85th birthday – Laguna Beach High School opened to 134 students on Park Ave.

In this 1940 photo, the campus appears nearly identical as its debut – the North Gym was built in 1935. Clapboard bungalows dot the streets around the school not yet replaced by the handsome homes currently present. The second floor science rooms, Dugger Gym, and Guyer Field were still 20 years away. Other major renovations were awaiting in 1993 and 2003.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 9 3 19

Laguna Beach High School, 1940

If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice South Coast Highway passing Main Beach in the center, and to the left the remnants of the Main Beach Pier, heavily damaged in the Hurricane of 1939. It was demolished several years later. The photographer of this photo was unaware he was capturing history – one of the only images on record of the pier in its impaired state.

The high school itself had its Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame – actually three years of fame – being the setting of the MTV reality TV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. It followed the lives of several Laguna teens in their high school years. This contributed to some of the school’s most famous alumni...fashion designer Lauren Conrad, actress Kristin Cavallari (and Mrs. Jay Cutler), and Casey Reinhardt of Casey’s Cupcakes fame.

Other notable alum include World Series catcher Damon Berryhill and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, voted Best Rock Drummer by Rhythm Magazine.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Protective gear to be bought for City firefighters


It’s time for Laguna’s firefighters to get new personnel protective gear in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association.

The only question is which company the City Council will select at tonight’s (September 10) meeting to supply the equipment, which includes structure and wildfire clothing for fire suppression personnel.

An informal bid process allowed the fire department to determine the brand that best met the department’s needs, according to the staff report. 

Fire Department personnel evaluated the protective turnout coat and pant sets from three companies. AllStar Fire Equipment’s LION brand was rated the highest by the personnel whose lives may depend on the equipment.

The fire department has recommended the purchase of the LION brand equipment at a cost of $99,028.71, spread over four years.

Cost of the LION’s equipment was midway between the high bid of $146,971 and the low bid of $85,486. 

The council had approved $160,000 for the purchase of protective gear at the 2018 midyear budget hearing.

$100,000 was estimated for replacement of the turnout sets. The remaining $60,000 will be used to buy other equipment, such as boots, gloves, protective hoods, personal lighting, and helmets.

The timing of the purchase is in accordance with National Fire Protection Association recommendations to protect firefighters from chemical and toxic hazards and/or “any incident-danger-life-hazard environment.”

The expenditure is on the Consent Calendar for Tuesday’s meeting and will be approved without discussion unless pulled by a member of the City Council or the public.

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

Last week, “A Look Back” looked back on the Treasure Island mobile home park with a 1945 photo. To continue the theme of trailer park living in 20th century Laguna Beach, let’s look at another local trailer park – the El Morro mobile home park at Abalone Point, just north of downtown.

In 1927, Robert Windolf, supplier of propane for the local farmers, leased the property seen here from the Irvine Company, and set up Tyron’s Camp on the beach just north of Abalone Point. He put in a restroom and a market, well known for selling local abalone. Even Laguna locals used the market for their local fresh seafood needs.

Trailers replaced tents in the 1940s, and in 1954 the site was officially renamed El Morro Trailer Park.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 9 17 19

El Morro, 1948

Short-term tourist rentals were soon converted to long-term residential leases. The tenants enjoyed beautiful canyons, a sparkling clear stream, and a bounty of fresh fish. And even more impressive was the incredible surfing, especially on the south swell.

In 1979, the State Parks and Coastal Commission wanted the site for public day use and a campground – and to return the sand to its natural state.

The problem was that there were over 300 stubborn residents who – 

for reasons listed above – did not want to leave. This led to 25 years of litigation. In 1979, residents signed an agreement that would result in their giving up their space in exchange for paying below market rates for 20 years.

In this 1948 photo, both the trailers on the inland side and those on the beach themselves invoke a different era. The mansion on the tip of Abalone Point was not yet built.  The underground tunnel was also in the future, so campers on the inland side had to wait for breaks in the Coast Highway traffic to scurry across and enjoy the sand. The two driveways in the center illustrate that challenge. 

In 1999, the Coastal Commission gave a five-year extension, evicting the residents in 2006.

On one of the final days, the remaining residents arranged a circle of beach chairs around an American flag, and gave one last toast to their beloved El Morro home.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Solemn salute to fallen Firefighters

Solemn salute moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

National Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters – moon in perfect symmetry

Barbara’s Column

Hail, hail, the gang’s all here 


It seemed like there were as many volunteers as vehicles at the Laguna Beach Rotary Club’s 16th annual Classic Car Show.

Club members, their families, and their friends all turned out to make the show a success. An estimated $20,000 to $25,000 was raised for the club’s philanthropic grants.

“We will choose the nonprofits for our grants in the spring,” said Harry Bithell, chair of the fundraiser. “That is when we figure out how much to grant.”

Hail hail Harry Bithell

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Photo by Ward Blackburn

Harry Bithell, chair of the fundraiser, in the center

Funds were raised by donations from sponsors, the sale of tickets and food, vehicle entry fees, and a silent auction. 

“Everything we make, we give back to the community,” said Ward Blackburn, marketing director of the show. 

One hundred and fifteen classic vehicles in 26 classifications were showcased for the public and the 20 judges, coordinated by John Bernard.   

James Matta’s 1957 Thunderbird was selected for the Mayor’s Award. The People’s Choice went to Matt McGuiness’s 1968 Pontiac GTO. The coveted Best in Show Award was presented to Robert Huntington for his exquisite 1955 Jaguar XK 140, picked from the Jaguar sports cars through 1974 category, which included the XKEs and the Mark series of sedans. Yum. 

Hail hail Jacquar

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Robert Huntington – Best in Show Award – 1955 Jaguar

The show was held on the Lumberyard parking lot adjacent to City Hall and the neighboring lot to the north. Each area had its own team of volunteers selling tickets and answering questions. 

Ed Storke, the club’s Community Grant Chair and President of the Laguna Beach Historical Society, was stationed at the entry to the Lumberyard lot, along with Rotarian Jim Fulcher and his wife, Jennifer; Andy and Lynn Turner; and 16-year volunteer Suzie Bithell.

Tory Thomas, who has volunteered every year since the show began and is a sponsor, collected entrance fees at both lots. 

Ed and Kathy Gould and Linda Alvarez staffed the ticket counter on the lot across Broadway from the Playhouse. 

Jerry Immel hung the yellow tape that designated the exhibit areas.

Hail hail auction

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Auction items

Volunteers Keith Matassa, Christine and Peter Freeman, Cindy Carmichael, Danny Frankel, and Wally Shao worked in the popular Bloody Mary’s booth.     

Angela Popowa chaired the silent auction.

“Donors were very generous,” said Popowa.”We had a large range of items.”

Donations included a Robert Wyland limited lithograph and a copy of his book, Visons of the Sea, and jeweled dog collars from BB Simon

“It is better jewelry than you’d wear,” said Popowa.

Karen and Jim Imhof donated Christmas decorations, a Halloween bucket, and a wine basket. 

The auction also featured baseball memorabilia. Fans of the game had a choice between a 1987 Super Set of baseball cards that included Mark McGuire and Don Mattingly and an Ernie Banks autographed jersey, and two signed baseballs.

Bidders had choices such as sunglasses from optometrists David Cler and Michael Cook, a basket of “spirits” from Pepper Tree Lane (no, not ghosts), and hair products from Lisa Vanderbeek

Hail hail Chevy

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Classic Chevy

Also among the sponsors and donors: the Boys and Girls Club, Montage Laguna Beach, Bushard’s Pharmacy, Gorjana, Bobbi Cox Real Estate and Jan Herkelrath J Group, European Optical, John Campbell Insurance and Fawn Memories owner George Nelson.

Nelson also had two cars in the show: a 1963 356 90 Super Porsche and a 1946 Ford Woodie, which has been exhibited in the show for its entire 16 years.

There was no entry in the European Pre-War classification this year, but Chevrolet was well represented. 

A chipper-looking former Mayor Kelly Boyd exhibited his 1956 Chevy Bell Aire in the 1946 to 1960 American closed car category. 

Chevy’s 1972 Nova was exhibited by Karen Hanway in the 1960 to 1972 American cars. 

Hail hail vw bus

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Volkwagen bus 

“The car was bought by my grandmother, but it was too fast for her and she gave it to her youngest son,” said Hanway. 

Now it is her turn to exhibit it.

Nathan Imus displayed a 1969 Camaro. 

Categories also included Corvettes through 1972; and Ford’s iconic Mustangs through 1972. 

Local radio station KX 93.5 sponsored a drawing for a 1964 1/2 Mustang, attended by Ed Steinfeld, lover of the swing era music and the host of the station’s “Mornings with Ed.”

The Laguna Beach Police Deptatment had a special booth where Officers Natalie Leal and Brian Griep were selling badges to increase breast cancer awareness. 

Entertainment was provided by the OC classic rock band Plus One, led by Frank Joseph, guitarist and singer. Jeff Tiss kept the beat going on drums. James Hitchcock strummed the bass and special guest guitarist Rick Cirelli rocked.

Hail hail green ford

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Classic Ford 

Among the volunteers and car buffs seen wandering the show grounds:  Dean Day and Bill Vitale, Thurston Middle School teacher Leah Prettyman, John Thomas and his 10-year-old retired seeing-eye dog, Norway, Rotary members Mike Mahoness and Danny Franco, Supervisor Lisa Barlett’s Community Relations Advisor Sergio Prince, Mark Hefferan, Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Committee President Ed Hanke, car Judges Udo Stoeckmannn and Corena Dusek, Fete de Musique performance organizer Ken Aubuchon, Linda Hoover, and Kerri Redecker, in charge of volunteers and coordinator of the set up and breakdown of the show. 

Pepper Tree Lane was the show sponsor. Crevier Classic Cars, Pacific Life, KARMA, Irvine BMW, and Carmer Auto Body Shop sponsored the venue. 

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.

For more photos by Scott Brashier, see the slideshow below

Laguna Beach Parents Club Halloween Walk

Photos by Mary Hurlbut 

Laguna Beach kid trio

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Trick or Treat Trio

Laguna Beach witch

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Jennifer, Jesse, and their daughter

Laguna Beach candidate

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Baby Hughes for President

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, see slideshow below

Oak Street Halloween 2019

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Oak Street Halloween 1

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The Talarico Family

Oak Street Halloween 2

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Sterling Stone

Oak Street Halloween 4

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LBPD Captain Jeff Calvert (left) and wife Amy (right) dressed as jailbirds with friends

Oak Street Halloween 3

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Little Lagunan honors Los Angeles Fire Department

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, see slideshow below

Happy Birthday, Barbara!

Happy birthday closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

To celebrate your birthday last Saturday, we raise a toast to you. You are a jewel in the Stu News family, a brilliant light to everyone who knows you, and the rock that anchors our community. Many happy returns of the day!

The Gross Family Foundation donates $19.5 million to OC and global nonprofits in 2019

The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, the charity founded by Laguna Beach resident Bill Gross and his son and daughter, announced yesterday that it donated a total of $19,500,000 to 45 nonprofits in 2019, including $2 million to the CHOC Foundation in Orange, and $1 million to Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar.

Other local recipients of donations include community services providers such as the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, the Laguna Food Pantry, and the Laguna Beach Senior Center.

“I am pleased to work with Jennifer and Jeff and to identify and support the meaningful and important work of organizations that benefit local and global communities,” said Mr. Gross, the co-founder of PIMCO and a longtime resident of Orange County. “While I previously measured success by business accomplishments, success is now a function of what we can do to benefit and help others around the world.”

The Gross closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Bill Gross

Many of the Gross Family Foundation’s donations continue a tradition of supporting global causes ranging from the Wilcox Health Foundation of Kauai, Hawaii, to Doctors Without Borders in New York City. Other causes include the promotion of practical solutions for sustainable development (the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network), healthcare in the Carolinas (Atrium Health Foundation), and an effort to end life-threatening hunger in 47 countries (Action Against Hunger).

But the local focus of the Gross Family Foundation remains in Orange County, where Mr. Gross co-founded the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) asset management giant and has lived for most of his adult life. Categories of recipients include the arts and education (Art & Creativity for Healing Inc., Child Creativity Lab, Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, Laguna Radio Inc., No Square Theater); the environment (Ocean Institute, Pacific Marine Mammal Center); and community and support services (Anaheim Community Foundation, Friendship Shelter, Glennwood Housing Foundation, Laura’s House, Sally’s Fund, Seaside Legal Services).

These contributions support Bill, Jeff and Jennifer Gross’s longstanding commitment to provide financial resources to organizations that provide a direct benefit to the communities in which they serve. Mr. Gross has previously announced he is also donating all proceeds from past and upcoming auctions of his world-renowned stamp collection to charity.

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi throws down a challenge this week – who can name the out-of-the-way location where you’ll find this art piece? 

Send your answers in 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 12 6 19

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December moon

December moon apartments

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A pale moon, too low and alluring

December moon ocean

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A tawny moon, a pink sky, the loveliness of sea birds

Where’s Maggi – the answers!

This beautiful planter, created by Marlo Bartels, is right out front at the Capri Laguna hotel. Several of our readers have noticed it, too, including Nancy Wade, Julie Ross, Laurie Kirkland, and Steve Hoffman. Claudia Redfern wanted to say how much she loves seeing Marlo’s art around town.

Thanks for checking in with your answers!

Look for Maggi’s next challenge coming up on Friday.    

Wheres Maggi 12 24 19

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Marlo Bartels’ planter at the Capri Laguna hotel on S Coast Hwy

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi spied this holiday decorated garden on a corner somewhere in Laguna. Do you know where she was?

Send your answers in 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 12 27 19

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Top 10 Stories of 2019: Part III


5G is on its way, with or without City approval

Laguna Beach has little say in the installation of telecommunications facilities that keep folks talking on their cell phones.

In April, the City was compelled by the Federal Communications Commission to approve revisions to the guidelines for site selection, visual impact, and screening of the facilities to create a comprehensive set of design criteria for small wireless facilities. City Manager John Pietig was directed to bring to the council potential strategies for City opportunities to regulate the facilities and associated infrastructure. 

“We are trying to figure a way to map out 5G antenna sites to minimize their impact,” said Pietig.

The City has very little discretionary power over the facilities, City Attorney Philip Kohn told the council at the meeting. 

Failure to adopt the regulations at that meeting would have meant the City would have defaulted to federal rules. 

Local regulations related to radio frequency emission means that restrictions on cell towers related to environmental, human health, and safety concerns could not be imposed, according to City Attorney Travis Van Ligten. However, he did offer information that all wireless facilities in Laguna at that time met FCC regulations and were deemed safe.

Some residents disagreed.

Thomas Fleming said he was concerned about the radiation coming from cell towers. Cathy Bartels called pollution from the sites a crime against people and the environment.

There has also been griping about new poles being installed for telecommunication facilities in neighborhoods where residents have made a considerable contribution to undergrounding.

The Sierra Club, which opposes 5G installations, issued a statement that the cities of Mill Valley, San Anselmo, and Ross in Marin County, Calif. and Palm Beach, Fla. have adopted ordinances opposing 5G.

Design Review Board attacked

Councilman Peter Blake continued to attack the Design Review process, its members, and its supporters, as he had throughout his campaign for office.

In January, he recommended that the three members of the board whose terms were to end in March be joined by the remaining two members.

No one accepted his invitation. 

“Radical surgery is not always the most beneficial solution,” said former Mayor Jane Egly.

Blake, who made the DRB one of his favorite targets during the election campaign, said he is making good on a promise to revamp the design review process.

His proposal at the January 8 council meeting to dismantle the Design Review Board packed the City Council chamber. Some 46 speakers from the near-capacity audience went to the rostrum to testify for or against his proposals.

A 5-0 vote against Blake’s recommendations came at the end of a two-hour, occasionally raucous hearing. 

“I feel like my hearing has been hijacked,” said an irate Blake at the conclusion of public testimony. “I represent the people who are at home, not the political activists here tonight.”

He was referring to DRB supporters such as Village Laguna, his bete noire, but presumably Blake also included as activists the 20 speakers who supported his proposal to vacate the sitting members of the board.

Laguna has always been noted for its community participation in governance, which includes public perusal of proposed council actions as well as monitoring and serving on committees, boards, and commissions.

However, many speakers pointed to the costs and delays in getting a project heard by the board, rather than the membership, as faulty.

top ten blake

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Councilmember Peter Blake always speaks his mind

Cindy Shopoff testified that it took her six years to build their home and the experience was not unique. 

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said the board is being blamed for conditions outside of their control, for instance delays by contractors and consultants. 

“My clients are spending thousands of dollars before the project gets to the board,” said architect Marshall Ininns, whose plan to revamp the Coast Inn property was rejected. “If architects present a reasonable project, they should have a reasonable chance to be approved. I want a reset.”

Although opposed to removing members of the board before their terms ended, some Village Laguna members, including past president Gary Jenkins, supported Blake’s proposal to review the process.

“If anything came out of the last election, it was that there is a problem here,” said 2018 council candidate Ann Christoph, who was endorsed by Village Laguna. “It is frustrating to me how long it takes to get a project to the board.” 

Councilwoman Sue Kempf suggested reassigning fuel mediation zones and the review of all commercial projects to the Planning Commission on which she served for four years, and putting Public Works in charge of beach access and street ends. 

“Despite its checkered approval rating, the City is better off with the board than without it,” said architect Morris Skenderian, who has participated in about 1,000 DRB meetings. 

“We are not Newport Beach or Dana Point and proud of it,” he wrote in a letter. “Neither of these cities has a design review process per se and the results are obvious.”

In July, the Council approved changes to the design review process, designed to make it speedier and simpler.

Public agreement on the proposed changes was neither speedy nor simple. Eighteen speakers from the audience testified on the changes proposed by the Planning Commission and staff to streamline the often-contentious process. 

“It is not the board that needs to be streamlined; it’s the time it takes to get to the board,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman.

Major changes recommended by the Planning Commission and approved at the meeting included transferring review of all non-residential and Community Improvement Projects from the Design Review Board to the commission and taking from the board minor administrative design review appeals, which will go straight to council.

The amendment to the Laguna Beach Municipal Code pertaining to the Council’s changes in the review process was to be made in phases, according to the staff report.

Besides staking and transfer of authority for design review on commercial and public works projects, Phase One amendments handed over the administrative approval of pool/spa and air conditioning units from the board to the Director of Community Development Greg Pfost, who is retiring later this year, and enabled him to initiate the revocation process. 

A second phase will deal with trickier issues, Pfost said. 

Tree matters

The City Council has proclaimed March 12, 2020 as Arbor Day in Laguna Beach and approved an application for Tree City USA recertification.

Laguna first celebrated Arbor Day in 2018. The city was recognized as a first-year Tree City USA community that year when it met the four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department responsible for tree care, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and holding an observance of Arbor Day and a proclamation. 

Tree City USA communities must apply for recertification annually.

Renewing Laguna’s status as a Tree City USA demonstrates the city’s commitment to maintaining a healthy urban forest and promotes the benefits that trees provide to residents, businesses and visitors, according to the City staff.

Celebrating Arbor Day and becoming a Tree City USA community recognizes the value of the urban forest and trees in Laguna and demonstrates their importance to our neighborhoods parks, streets, and open space, staff reported. 

top ten trees

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s beautiful trees stand out along the streets of downtown

Public trees are an asset to Laguna Beach. The City policy states that in some instances public trees may need to be removed if they are dead, dying, diseased, or pose an imminent risk to public safety or structures, but they should be preserved whenever possible.

Many members of the community oppose removing them except under the most dire of circumstances. They maintain that better maintenance is the key to a lush urban forest.

Landscape architects Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick and designer Ruben Flores protest that improved sites will preserve tree health. They also tussle with Public Works Director Shohreh Dupuis over the trees she recommends to be planted.

The City has hired an arborist to evaluate any questionable trees and Dupuis can ask for a second opinion

Barbara MacGillivray’s love of trees led her and her husband Greg to set up a fund to bolster her dream of a canopied city.

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

One fact sometimes forgotten is that, unlike neighboring beach towns, Laguna Beach was settled primarily by homesteaders post-Civil War. The third homesteader was John Damron, who homesteaded a large part of town, including what would become downtown and Temple Hills, in 1878.

A year later, without making the obligatory improvements, he sold the land to the Rawson brothers. By 1890, the land was sold again, this time to George Rogers and his father Henry. For $1,000. That isn’t a typo; in 1890 the entire downtown area plus what would become Temple Hills sold for less than half of the average salary of a doctor or dentist at that time ($2,500).

Rogers was a visionary and was the first property owner to subdivide the property into small individual lots, just enough room for a small business or home. The $10 a lot price tag scared off too many investors, and he subsequently sold the Temple Hills area to Joseph Thurston in 1919 for $24,000.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 1 7 20

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Temple Hills, circa 1930

Thurston envisioned Temple Hills as a residential neighborhood and built approximately eight homes there in the early 1920s. He added a few more throughout the decade. This 1930 photo shows a fledgling neighborhood within Temple Hills. Note the quasi-Tudor-style steeply pitched roofs, with gables and decorative half timber. Barely legible, written on the hill on the left of the photo, is a Hollywood-type sign saying “TEMPLE HILLS.”

Serious home building didn’t take off until the post-WWII 1950s. And those $10 lots? A recent look at the MLS shows the lowest priced home sold recently in Temple Hills was for $1.8 million.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Community Clinic to hold health symposium


The Laguna Beach Community Clinic will host its 4th Annual Health Symposium from 9 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan 13 in the City Council Chambers. Admission is free. 

Clinic staff member Monica Prado announced the symposium Tuesday at the City Council meeting.

“It will offer residents the best information,” said Prado.

Speakers will focus on longevity and how to engineer a healthy lifespan with evidence-based information. 

Dr. Claudia Kawas, principal investigator of the 90+ Study, will be the keynote speaker.

Panelists will include Dr. Lisa Gibbs, trainer Paul Gregrow, and Professor Mahtab Jafari.

Clinic Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director Dr. Jorge Rubal will be the moderator. 

Gibbs is a clinical professor in the UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine, director of education of the UCI Program in Geriatrics, and director of the Senior Health Center.

Gregrow is owner and head trainer of Ruination CrossFit, and holds CrossFit Level One Certification and CrossFit Gymnastics Certification.

Jafari is a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Health Sciences Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI, and director of the UCI Center for Healthspan Sciences. 

There will be time allotted at the symposium for a question and answer session.

Rotary Club names LBHS Senior Laila Cruz as January’s Student of the Month

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach is pleased to present Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) Senior Laila Cruz as January’s Student of the Month. Laila was selected by her Social Science teacher, Mr. Jun Shen. 

In addition to being an outstanding scholar, Laila has a long history of volunteering for school and community service programs. She has participated in Model United Nations for the past four years and is currently Secretary-General. Laila is a National Hispanic Merit Scholar. 

Rotary group

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Photo by Ward Blackburn

(L-R) Rotarian and LBHS Liaison Angela Shipp, Social Science teacher Mr. Jun Shen, Laila Cruz and her mother, Suzzette Cruz

Laila is also a camp counselor at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point where she runs whale watching tours. 

Additionally, she has played soccer for three years at LBHS, and to round out her talents, she plays bass clarinet in the LBHS wind ensemble. 

In the fall, Laila will be attending Columbia University, majoring in political science and economics. She looks forward to a career in the diplomatic field with the United Nations.

For more about The Rotary Club, go to www.lagunabeachrotary.org.

Prickly tree approved in prickly meeting for heritage status


The City Council voted 4-1 at the January 21 meeting to add a melaleuca stypheloides to the city’s Heritage Tree List.

Councilman Peter Blake was the lone opponent of granting the status. He voiced concern that approving the tree, which is in some neighbors’ views, would lead to a rush of applications for heritage status that eases compliance with the city’s view ordinance.

“I will not support any tree that blocks a view,” Blake reiterated before the vote, challenging supporters. “I would like to see this tree put on the heritage list, but only if it is reduced by 50 percent.” 

Staff support for the heritage designation was echoed by Roger McErlane, landscape architect, a former Planning Commissioner and a neighbor of the applicant.

“The area (North Laguna) is better known for its streetscape than for views,” said McErlane. “

Heritage trees are considered an asset to the community, but candidates must meet criteria in the city’s municipal code. 

Age is one criterion. A substantial case could be made by the staff that the tree under consideration was at least 50 years old, perhaps as old as 85. Its distinctive form and size meets a second requirement, and the tree is visually prominent from public view corridors, a third criterion. 

The tree is in the front yard of the owner’s home, which is believed to have been built in the mid-1920s and an integral part of the overall characteristic of the parcel, according to the staff report.

Public notices were mailed to property owners within a 300-foot radius of the tree and tenants within a 100-foot radius.

The owner proposed to trim the tree 20 percent every other year, but some neighbors wanted the tree to be reduced by 50 percent every year. 

However, the council brokered a deal in which lower limbs that block a neighbor’s entry would be trimmed annually and the canopy would be reduced by 25 percent every other year.

Local Hans Rey to host Wheels 4 Life fundraiser and film screening at The Ranch on Monday

Laguna Beach resident Hans Rey presents “An Evening with Hans Rey & TransHongKong Film Premiere,” a fundraiser for his nonprofit charity Wheels 4 Life, on Monday, Feb 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. One hundred percent of the ticket sales will benefit the charity. 

The event will include a one-hour talk by Rey about this career highlights, favorite trails, and adventures. It will be followed by the TransHongKong film premiere, and a Q&A with Rey and the filmmaker Cedric Tassan.

TransHongKong, Rey’s latest adventure production, will have its world premiere at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival this Saturday, Feb 22.

Wheels 4 Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity founded in 2005 and operated by Hans and Carmen Rey, with the goal of providing people in Third World countries with bikes for transportation. The organization’s mission states: “The gift of mobility can make all the difference to a person’s life and help them to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.”

Local Hans group

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Photo by Martin Bissig

Hans Rey (on left) with villagers in Kenya who received bikes from Wheels 4 Life

Rey says, “It was a way for us to give back, bicycles have been good to me and my career. People in developing countries often need the bikes for mobility to get to school, to receive or give healthcare, to go to the markets, to fetch water, etc. Bicycles can change lives. Our organization is very pure and effective – everybody works on a volunteer basis, and we have hardly any overhead. To date we have donated over 13,100 bicycles in 32 different countries.”

Wheels 4 Life works with volunteers in the field, local organizations and nonprofits, schools, community leaders, and health care clinics to help identify those people in genuine need of a bike. These people are those that live in both primitive and remote areas, with no access to, nor the means of affording, public transportation. The closest school, doctor, or work place might be as far as 10 to 20 miles away. 

Local Hans boy

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Photo by Martin Bissig

Hans Rey in Kenya with recipient of bike from Wheels 4 Life

Rey was born in Germany in 1966. This Swiss/American national now resides in Laguna Beach with his wife Carmen. Rey is considered the world’s leader in extreme mountain biking. He is a former Trials World Champion and inductee of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and is widely considered to be a pioneer of both the Mountain Bike Freeride movement and the Trials riding scene. As a professional rider and ambassador for the sport, he continues to travel the world and has thus far visited seventy different countries.

During the mid-nineties, Rey created the Hans Rey Adventure Team, visiting remote and extreme locations around the globe, often riding his bike where a bicycle had never been ridden before. In addition, he would seek out locations that were both historic and held some mystery, always capturing his exploits for the media.

Local Hans Hong Kong

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Photo by Carmen Rey/Bill Freeman

Hans Rey in Hong Kong for filming of “TransHongKong”

The Hans Rey Adventure Team was inspired by Rey’s desire to utilize his unique mountain biking talents and go outside the competitive arena and explore the world, capturing all the cultural and spiritual qualities of his destinations for the benefit of millions of TV, video, and publication viewers. Riding waterfalls in Jamaica, looking for pyramids and a dwarf tribe in China, amongst wild animals in Africa, in the footsteps of the Inca in Bolivia, searching for headhunters in Borneo – are just a few of Rey’s journeys with his adventure team.

Rey says of the fundraising event at The Ranch, “It will be an entertaining and inspiring evening for a good cause.” 

For more information about Hans Rey, go to www.hansrey.com. For more information on Wheels 4 Life, go to www.wheels4life.org.

To order tickets to Monday’s event, click here

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is located at 31106 S Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

For this week’s “A Look Back” photo, let’s do a little detective work...can you deduce the year this wonderful photo was taken?

On first peek, the novice’s eye would guess the 1920s with the roaring 20s type cars on Coast Highway, the “Let the Birds Feed You” sign on the White House, and the iconic Hotel Laguna sign atop the downtown hotel. The classic style street lights add to the 1920 ambience.

But let’s look closer. The skirt length on the younger woman walking the senior across a busy Coast Highway infers a Depression-era style over the shorter Roaring 20s fashion. Of interest is the crosswalk is not on the south side of Coast Highway at Park where it sits today, but on the north side at Forest. The storefronts and architecture are virtually unchanged from today. 

The Birds hung that sign from the rooftop from their purchase of the restaurant in 1918 – it came down around 1950. The Hotel Laguna sign went up on its grand opening of 1930, not to come down until a city ordinance required it in 1996. The Festival of Arts banner gives the biggest clue: the festival began in 1932, so this appears to narrow the window from 1932-1950. 

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Looking back at Laguna Beach

Now let your eyes roam to the right of the photo. The Shell logo where The Greeter’s Corner Restaurant is today was a new design, with the letters within the mollusk logo. That design debuted in the late 1930s. 

Next, you’ll need a high-resolution computer screen and a magnifying glass. The banner advertising the Festival of Arts indicates a nine-day run. From 1932 until 1939, the Festival ran no more than nine days. In 1940, it extended the run to 15 days.

But take a puff of your Sherlock Holmes pipe and pay attention to the auto parked smack in the front of the photo. Prior to 1939, headlights on cars were actual lamps attached to the chassis, as seen in the other autos in this photo. Recessed headlights as we know today were a novelty in 1939, and a good car buff can make an intelligent guess that is a 1939 Plymouth coupe. 

For the Smoking Gun, you’ll want to look up the history of California license plates. Until 1942, the state issued new plates every year, instead of the little tags we now place in the corner of the plate. The color and style also changed each year. In 1940, the plates had two numbers, a letter then three more numbers. But in 1938 and 1939, the plates had one number, one letter and then four numbers – in this case the coupe is 6X 88 67. But the 1939 plates were dark blue to commemorate the 1939 World’s Fair. The 1938 plates were yellow as this car has.

In the 1930s, the new model cars (such as the 1939 Plymouth coupe) were available starting in late spring the previous year, not fall as we do today. So a 1939 new coupe bought in 1938 would have the yellow plates as shown here. 

The heavy traffic, the lack of June gloom, the short sleeves on our crosswalk couple, the spanking new Plymouth coupe, and the Festival banner all point to this photo being taken in July 1938. 

We rest our case.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Police Employees’ Association urges city to close beaches and adjacent parks


Laguna’s Police Department employees on Sunday urged city officials to take all proactive measures to protect residents and first responders from the highly contagious COVID-19. 

The request from the employees’ association came in response to the rapidly evolving crisis they believe calls for enhanced and more intensive enforcement efforts to encourage the public to heed Governor Newsom’s “Safer At Home” order. Main Beach and Heisler Park were crowded over the weekend and social distances were not maintained, sometimes irate local observers said.

“I’m not sure that our position influenced the council’s decision,” association President Brian Griep emailed Stu News on Monday. “However, we support their decision to temporarily close our beaches and parks wholeheartedly, and we’re proud that Laguna Beach is leading the way in public safety.” 

Police Employees' Heisler

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Heisler Park closure as of Monday

Action needed to be taken immediately, according to the association, to top the spread of the virus to Laguna’s residents and to the city’s police, fire, marine safety, and public works department. 

Association officers stated they understand the considerable sacrifice being asked, but they believe the community will be broadly supportive of the measures being recommended. 

“The PEA has received overwhelming support from our community on this very controversial topic,” Griep stated in his email. “Of course, nobody wanted to shut down our beaches and parks, but unfortunately, it was necessary and essential due to the lack of compliance from visitors and the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

City officials, who met later Sunday afternoon, ordered the shutdown of city beaches and adjacent parks as of 5 p.m., Monday, by the city if the county or the state did not beat them to the punch.

Surfrider Foundation CEO speaks out on local beach closures and restrictions


Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Surfrider Foundation Dr. Chad Nelsen adds his thoughts to Laguna’s running commentary on adhering to the beach closures and social distancing guidelines. The Surfrider Foundation is a 501(c)(3) grassroots nonprofit dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves, and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Nelsen says, “The Surfrider Foundation considers this a big issue. What’s happening here in Laguna is happening all over the nation. People shouldn’t be rushing to the beach to get in the water – honor beach closures and practice social distancing. We’re spreading the word far and wide to get surfers and beachgoers to honor the closures in order to flatten the curve until this whole thing calms down. 

“At Surfrider we’ve been working to get these message out as well. We’ve been posting this #StayHomeShredLater post and also have some best practices for responsible beachgoing.”

Surfrider Foundation CEO shred

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Submitted photo

#StayHomeShredLater message

In light of new information, the six-foot social distancing restriction may not be as safe as we think. If you need one more reason to stay away from the beach, Nelsen calls attention to a Surfer magazine article in which an atmospheric scientist says, “Coastal breezes don’t care about our social distancing protocols and can carry the COVID-19 virus distances greater than six feet.”

According to UC San Diego atmospheric scientist Kim Prather, who studies how viruses and bacteria can be transmitted in the ocean, the six-foot safety bubble is burst when you enter a breezy environment, as the ocean and beaches frequently are.

“Surfers are saying that they’re safe if they stay six feet away from other people, but that’s only true if the air isn’t moving,” Prather told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Most of the time, there’s wind or a breeze at the coast. Tiny drops of virus can float in the air and get blown around.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Surfrider Foundation CEO Nelsen

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Submitted photo

Chad Nelsen, CEO of Surfrider Foundation

During these challenging days, the Surfrider Foundation website states, “Surfrider continues to be a staunch defender of public beach access rights; however, in these extraordinary times, extraordinary measures are needed to protect our health and livelihoods so we can, in due course, protect and enjoy our ocean, waves and beaches in the future.

“While these best practices can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission while beach-going, leaving your house will include a level of risk for spreading or contracting COVID-19. Please stay home as much as possible, recreate with caution, and learn more about potential transmission risks of COVID-19 and beach water quality.”

To view Surfrider’s guidelines, click here. 

For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, go to www.surfrider.org.

Looks like the tropics

Looks like trees

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Courtesy of Mary Hurlbut

Cloudy skies in paradise

Barbara’s Column

Spring has sprung…like no other 


Laguna’s children were on Spring Break last week. It was a break like no other for them and for their parents. No picnics in the parks. No going to the beach. And for sure, no trips.

Moms, dads, and their offspring are spending a lot more time together. And they are finding fun ways – some of them time-tested, some of them via the gift of technology – to spend it.

Story Bullington, 8, is the youngest daughter of Jennifer and Bart Bullington, who was the brewmaster for the original Laguna Beach Brewing Co. Story has two sisters, Zoey, 16, and Rylee, 18. The family has lived in Laguna for 20 years. 

This spring is different for the whole family.

“First, I am home with the kids all day,” said Story’s mom, who is usually more active outside the home. “I work a little at the high school, at the Kid’s Gym in Laguna Hills, and at the Festival of Arts. Right now, I’m doing nothing. 

“Zoey is having a hard time not going to school – she knows everybody at the high school, and she misses them all. Rylee is in her gap year, working at Target. She is in the frontline of this madness.” 

Last year during Spring Break, Story went to the beach and to the parks.

“Now all we do is take walks in the neighborhood,” she said. “I also clean my room quite a lot.”

Spring has rabbit

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Submitted photo

Story Bullington on Easter break

Story stays in contact with her friends through Google Hangout, Skype, and Messenger Kids, a free video messaging and chat app for youngsters that offers parental control. 

In fact, she used social media to show Selah, her friend since preschool, the basket Story and her sisters each got on Easter. 

Easter may be a highlight of Spring Break, but every day, she dances.

“We have dance parties,” said Story. “My favorite [dance] music is ‘Starships’ by Nicki Minaj.”

Story also spends time reading. Currently, she is reading her second book in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series, Unicorns versus Goblins, published in 2016. 

Top of the World second grader Elisa Camacho is the youngest child and only daughter of Kathleen and Alejandro Camacho

She is keeping up with her classes, during Spring Break and after, as long as the campus is closed. 

“My teacher types a document, which is a daily calendar,” said Elisa. 

Between 9 and 10 a.m., Elisa’s class makes a Zoom call to her teacher, Karly Kivac

Miss Kovac tells us what we are supposed to do – the most important things and asks if there are any questions,” said Elisa. Her favorite subjects are art, science, and music.

One of the perks of online classes for Elisa is being able to include her dogs Heide and Uli, both labradoodles. 

Spring has online

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Submitted photo

Story Bullington uses social media to connect with friends 

Katie Baker, 13, “Zooms” in on a virtual music class conducted by Thurston Middle School music director teacher Steven Wade. Katie plays the French horn. 

“Our home is finding a rhythm together (pun not intended, but a good one),” said Katie’s mother, Jennifer, a music teacher and daughter of Karen and James McBride, well known in Laguna’s musical circles. 

Katie enjoys singing with her grandmother, whose favorite song is “I’m Yours.” 

An active member of the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts Troop 274, Katie is a cadet – meaning she is working on her silver award – the one between bronze and gold, and she misses working on the troop’s project: restoring a garden at Wood Canyon Elementary School.

“It was overgrown with weeds, which was a lot of hard work, and we are –were – rebuilding the planter boxes,” said Katie. 

But she keeps busy. 

“The teachers assigned us a lot of homework,” said Katie. “And I visit my friends that are also off from school on Facebook.” 

Katie participates in Family Game Night. They are playing euchre, a trick-taking card game transplanted from Europe in the 1800s that introduced the joker into decks in 1860. 

She has also begun a Harry Potter marathon. She is on Book Two, and she watches the Harry Potter movies.

“I am too busy to get bored yet,” said Katie. 

Luke Johnson is the son of Stacy and Mark Jonson and grandson of Joan Collins, a retired Laguna Beach teacher. 

The 18-year-old is a member of the 2020 graduating class at – well not at –Laguna Beach High School, according to the latest word. The Honors Convocation has already been knocked off the calendar by COVID-19.

“I am not too disappointed,” said Luke. “I am not into ceremony.”

But he is missing some of the fun things he would normally do on Spring Break. 

There is no swimming in the ocean, no hiking. 

He is a fan of Formula One racing, but art is his future – maybe he can combine them. He was recently working on a sketch of a helmet with a visor and some race cars that are things of beauty.

Luke plans to attend a community college for two years and then transfer to the School of Visual Arts in New York. Why not the Laguna College of Art and Design? 

“Too close,” he said. 

Sara and Scott Niebuhr are taking advantage of distance learning at St. Catherine of Siena Parish School.

“The change in lifestyle has been good,” said Sara, mother of Natalya, 11, and Kellen, 7, both students at the parochial school. “Normally, we don’t see them as much. It has been a good bonding time.” 

Spring has dress

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Natalya – and her mother Sara – on a recent trip to Indonesia, wearing a dress she made for herself 

And a good learning time.

Natalya is sewing a dress for herself. 

Last year at this time, Natalya, might have been in Montana, where the Niebuhr’s have a second home. 

“I would have preferred to have been quarantined there,” said Natalya. “There is more to do. There are trails and horses.” 

Natalya has been riding since she was four, and during the school year she rides in San Juan Capistrano, but COVID-19 has put a stop to that for now. 

However, Natalya has her music. A fifth grader at St. Catherine’s, she has taken a choir class since the fourth grade, when the option is offered to the students. 

Spring has horse

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Natalya Niebuhr with her horse, Cowboy

This Spring Break, she practiced a choral piece for Easter – with the aid of technology and the expertise of music teacher Diane Marshall.

“We would sing the song by ourselves, a cappella (without musical accompaniment) or have the music on our ear pods or buds,” said Natalya. “Then Mrs. Marshall would put it all together.”

Kellen is still too young to be in the school choir. 

“But he tries to sing,” his big sister said. 

Besides music, Natalya reads a lot. Currently it’s Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw.

If allowed, Natalya would stay up till midnight reading.

The Niebuhrs encourage reading. Both of their children are at least two years ahead of their age and grade groups.

“I like to keep busy, or I get bored and then I start running around the house,” said Natalya. 

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Sewer user-fee increase on council agenda


The City Council tonight will decide whether now is the time to proceed with a proposed one-year sewer user-fee increase or to delay it due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 on residents and local businesses.

A council vote in February authorized the initiation of a protest vote on a 10 percent increase that would serve as a first step to addressing the financial  impacts of the Thanksgiving Day sewer spill. The 10 percent increase would also fund planning for vitally necessary improvements to the North Coast Interceptor that carries raw sewage from City Hall to the Coastal Treatment Plant at Aliso Beach. However, Governor Gavin’s Newsom’s stay-at-home order severely impacts the city’s revenue and the income of folks who live or own businesses in Laguna Beach who would be paying the increase. 

Staff will present the council with three financing options for the Wastewater System Capital Improvement Program at tonight’s meeting that can be viewed by the public via Zoom, Cox Cable station 582, on the website www.lagunabeachcity.net, or on the radio at KX FM 104.7, starting at 5 p.m. 

Options include jettisoning the increases, pending a financial settlement with the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board; imposing a five percent increase for the 2020-2021 fiscal year; or implementing the 10 percent increase. 

If the council takes no action on rate increases, staff will act on the previous council direction to notify the public of the protest vote process for the 10 percent increase. Notices must begin to be mailed by Friday. A public workshop would then be held to review questions and concerns and staff would present the results of the protest vote. 

A simple majority of voters would be required to sink the 10 percent increase. 

The 10 percent increase would cost a single-family residence $66.74 a month, a $6.07 monthly increase or roughly $72 for the fiscal year. A five percent increase would cost half that. No increase would leave the rate for a single-family residence at $60.67 a month.   

Average commercial properties would continue to pay $284 a month if no increase is approved; five percent would increase the payment to $329; a 10 percent increase raises the monthly outlay to $375.

Three financing scenarios will be presented to the council. 

Zero increase option pros* and cons**

*Provides time for the negotiations with the regional board to reach a conclusion on the assessment for the spill.

*Provides time for a more detailed cost analysis for the Interceptor improvement projects, based on a study underway.

*Defers improvements to the Anita Street Lift Station reconstruction and reduces the scope of improvements to the Victoria I Lift Station.

**Staff reports the option will trigger higher increases in the future to fund necessary capital improvements.

Five percent increase pros* and cons**

*Escalation of future sewer-user charges could be reduced.

*Maintains full funding for Victoria I.

**Triggers higher increases in the future to fund capital improvements other than Victoria I.

Ten percent increases pros* and cons**

*Preserves the existing 10-year Wastewater System Capital Improvement Program.

*No projects deferred.

*Will somewhat offset the need for higher sewer rate increases in the future due to unexpected costs or emergency repairs, especially important according to staff in consideration of multi-million dollar improvements to the Interceptor to limit future spills.

*Anita Street Lift Station reconstruction remains on schedule.

**The increase may cause added financial pressure on ratepayers due to COVID-19 economic impacts.

Saturday protests draw mix of non-residents and locals, no arrests made

Two protests were held on Saturday, May 2 in Laguna Beach, voicing opposition to Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and his directive to close Orange County beaches on Thursday, April 30.

The first protest, which began in front of the high school and ended downtown near Main Beach, was locally organized with some protesters’ signs reading: “Open California Save Small Businesses,” “Open Laguna,” “Fear Is The Real Virus,” and “We Do Not Consent,” among other signs.

Saturday protests draw 1

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Two protests were held on Saturday in Laguna Beach

A second group, which included a mix of non-residents and locals, met later in the afternoon at Main Beach, eventually charging onto the beach.

In addition to signs in opposition to the Governor’s stay-at-home order, some protesters carried signs in support of President Trump, and many carried American flags. One protester carried a Confederate flag.

LBPD was on hand to supervise the protests and made no arrests, according to Sgt. Jim Cota, Public Information Officer.

“Peaceful, no arrests, no citations,” Sgt. Cota said. “Police were present and fully monitored the event. Protesters jumped the protective netting and ran onto the beach at one point. They were quickly brought back to the grass area of Main Beach. They listened and complied.”

Saturday protests draw 2

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Protesters charged Main Beach but were brought back to the grass area of Main Beach, according to LBPD

“Many people were asking if there were locals at the rally [Saturday] and the answer is ‘yes’ mixed with non-residents,” Sgt. Cota said.

“I personally spoke to plenty of Laguna people thanking us for being there and monitoring.

“There were no uses of force. Throughout the day, there were about 35 police officers present in different capacities.”

Seniors are grateful for Sally’s Fund services during stay-at-home time

The mission of Sally’s Fund is to make it possible for the senior citizens of Laguna Beach to continue to live independently by providing transportation and other essential services, thereby increasing the quality and dignity of lives. 

The COVID-19 virus and living in isolation have created fear, concern, and anxiety for many seniors who live alone, have no family, and who no longer drive.

On March 17, 2020, as medical offices and businesses began shutting down, Sally’s Fund senior transportation organization quickly shifted gears to ensure seniors in our community had access to food and proper nutrition. Sally’s Fund has partnered with the Laguna Food Pantry and is continuing to deliver groceries to approximately 140 seniors in need, each week. When seniors needed toilet paper, because none could be found in stores, Sally’s Fund went to the City of Laguna Beach who provided rolls for Sally’s Fund to distribute. When it became mandatory for masks to be worn in public, the Fire Department provided masks for Sally’s Fund to deliver.

Seniors are lady

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Sally’s Fund shopping 

Rachael Berger, Sally’s Fund executive director, said, “We saw the imminent need to deliver food and other items of necessity to seniors, and we acted quickly to alleviate anxiety, hunger, and confusion for the seniors in Laguna Beach.” 

Sally’s Fund is also making wellness calls every day and transporting seniors to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and running necessary errands. The organization’s utmost priority is the safety of the seniors it transports and for the drivers. Vehicles are wiped down with disinfectant after each ride, and masks are required for both driver and passengers.

With the closure of the Susi Q through the end of summer, Sally’s Fund is committed to continuing services to those most vulnerable in our community. 

Seniors are man

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Submitted photo

Gathering items to deliver 

Many seniors have expressed their appreciation with kind notes and letters expressing appreciation. Sometimes Sally’s Fund drivers are the only face-to-face social contact for seniors sheltering in place, and they are always so happy and appreciative to see Sally’s Fund outside their door.

Click here to view some of the heartfelt letters received from seniors in the community letting Sally’s Fund know the positive impact it is making on their lives.

Please call Sally’s Fund at (949) 499-4100 if you need assistance or if you know someone who would benefit from our service.

For more information about Sally’s Fund, go to www.sallysfund.org.

(Link “here” through to attached PDF on separate/unique page)

Love letter to Laguna

Love letter banner

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Solidarity for our city

Barbara’s Column



Our lives changed drastically in March. But not all the changes will be discarded. Some are keepers.

South Laguna resident Peggie Thomas never enjoyed grocery shopping. Getting groceries delivered is a treat she doesn’t intend giving up when the COVID-19 pandemic ends: “at least for a while.” 

Laguna Beach County Water District Board member and sculptor Marv Johnson has spent more time on his art since being confined to his home with Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson since the pandemic began.

“I will finish up stuff I had let go,” he said. 

 Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Pam Estes, who for years has spent her time caring for the children of Laguna, has enjoyed being with her own children during the “stay-at-home” period of the pandemic. 

“I love being off the hamster wheel, driving everyone everywhere,” said Estes.

When Board of Education watchdog Howard Hills was in college, he cultivated an organic garden. 

Keepers Kaia

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Howard Hill’s granddaughter in the organic garden

“Now I have been organic farming with my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Kaia,” said Hills. “I call it my Pandemic Victory Garden. We have grown broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and we just had some broccoli for dinner. It was the best I have ever tasted. I am not going to give that up.” 

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Founding President Karyn Philippsen has found isolation and a reduced schedule of activities to be “utterly delightful.”
“In the future, I am going to be more protective of my personal time,” said Philippsen. 

Betsy Jenkins is considering cutting down the number of boards on which she sits. 

“I would have more time to read, to walk, and to go to the beach,” said Jenkins. 

Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair Matt Lawson joked he would continue to simonize and quick buff his dome, even when the pandemic ends – as did his hair. 

Laguna Plein Air Painter Association Executive Director Rosemary Swimm has always had a close relationship with her son. It has become closer since the start of the pandemic.

“He calls every morning just to say, ‘I love you,’” said Swimm. 

“I think we have become more aware of the people in our lives and we should keep that up. We shouldn’t take people for granted. They may not always be there.”

Retired Temple City Manager Karl Koski will be more watchful in the future about people surrounding him in a crowd, and he will be continue to wash his hands frequently and carry wipes and sanitizers. 

Keepers Jane

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Jane Egly is reclassifying a music collection

Former Mayor Jane Egly has been reading more, but now and in the future, if she isn’t enjoying the book, she puts it down. She also has been listening to and reclassifying the music collection of her late husband, retired Federal Judge Paul Egly. His 200-plus collection ranges from classical to show tunes to jazz.  She is reclassifying them to fit her categories: classical, nice, and pop. 

“I don’t have to hurry,” said Egly. 

Former Mayor Wayne Baglin and his wife, Faye, 2019 Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Chair, miss traveling and are looking past the pandemic.

“We are planning things into 2021, and we have booked a couple of cruises,” said Baglin. 

Laguna Pantry Executive Director Anne Belyea said the COVID-19 pandemic forced the staff to examine everything the Pantry did. Changes will improve the sustainability of the Pantry, according to Belyea.   

“We have streamlined and improved the processes,” said Belyea. “It used to be a mom and pop project. We have stepped up our game.” 

Former Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman is working on finding more places in town for groups of five to 25 meet. 

“It‘s impossible to find a place to have meetings for 13 people in Laguna Beach,” he said. 

Patti Jo Kiraly won’t be participating in the Sawdust Festival this year, due to the pandemic. 

Keeper Patti Jo

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Courtesy of Patti Jo Mother of Pearls

Patti Jo Kiraly will be back at the Sawdust in 2021

“It is too hard to sell my kind of jewelry without touching anyone,” said the “Mother of Pearls.” 

But she will be back in the Sawdust in 2021. For immediate plans, call her at (949) 494-9701. 

Socialization is especially important to the health and well-being of our older folks said wordsmith Chris Quilter, former president of Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. 

But the Susi Q will be hyper-cautious about resuming classes, he said. 

“Some seniors who are more vulnerable won’t want to be in a crowd,” said Quilter. “So we eventually will have regular classes but we will also Zoom some of them. We will also Zoom one-on-one consultations.” 

Quilter believes Zoom has become a permanent fixture in our lives. 

Keepers Chris

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Executive Director of LB Seniors Nadia Babayi and Chris Quilter 

San Onofre shutdown activist Rita Conn and her husband, Dr. Howard Conn, have been dining via Zoom with family members in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Joshua Tree, and Santa Fe, including daughter Lisa, founder of Icebreaker (https://icebreaker.video/), online guidance in how to communicate – very important in the midst of the pandemic and in the aftermath.

“No one has to drive,” said Conn. 

Zoom meetings have been beneficial to the clients of Michael Kinsman, a certified public accountant, in business with his wife, Cheryl, a former Laguna Beach mayor – and to them. 

 “We have driven much less – about 12 miles in the last three or four weeks,” said Kinsman. 

He plans to continue to curtail driving – he likes the clearer skies that he attributes to fewer vehicles on the road. 

“This is a long-term pivot,” said Kinsman. 

Kinsman anticipates the vicissitudes of the pandemic to forever change retail businesses. Stores will have to offer something that Amazon doesn’t or develop customer loyalty, said Kinsman, a former president of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. 

Kinsman also believes education will be different. 

“One-on-one contact is important, but distance education has proved to be successful,” said Kinsman, a retired professor. 

Architect Jim Conrad used to think it was essential for him to be in the office from morning until quitting time. 

“But I am working from home now, and I don’t feel like I need to be at the office,” he said. 

 “I do PowerPoint presentations on my projects, and I can just as easily do that by Zoom from home – and have a snack. I hope we never go back.”

Planning Commission Chair Ken Sadler also found it is possible to work from home. 

“I might embrace doing that more frequently in the future,” said Sadler, who chaired the commission’s second Zoomed meeting on Wednesday, this time with the faces of the commissioners on the screen.

Keepers Iseman

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Councilwoman Toni Iseman 

Councilwoman Toni Iseman believes that the council in the future will combine Zoom with public attendance meetings. She participated in a virtual meeting on Thursday that would have been impossible for Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris to have attended in person. 

Personally she has found she likes fine dining at home.

“Just picking it up and eating is great – and I get to pour my own wine,” said Iseman. “When we are cleared to go out, it won’t be the same. We won’t be the same. And that is not necessarily bad.”

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Jokester sets up Joke Stand with laughs and giggles benefiting the Laguna Food Pantry


It’s no joke that we could all use a laugh right now, and on Saturday and Sunday (and extending through yesterday), you could get one for just 50 cents. 9-year-old Jokester Charlie MacGillivray with the aid of his two sisters – 7-year-old Greta and 5-year-old Rose – set up their stand on the corner of Myrtle and Montgomery in North Laguna to the delight of anyone who stopped for a chuckle.

Jokester sets Saturday

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Photo by Jessica deStefano

The MacGillivray Family: (L-R) Shaun, Katie, Charlie, Greta, and Rose

Jessica deStefano, otherwise known as the Butterfly Lady who designed and curates the garden at the Laguna Beach Library, alerted Stu News that on Sunday, “the three little joke tellers” were back out on the corner selling their jokes to raise money for the Laguna Food Pantry. She had first spotted them on Saturday.

“I was a passerby in need of a good joke!” she says. “I stopped by to see if their jokes were any good. I went away laughing after buying a few jokes. Ha, ha, ha.” 

Jokester sets Sunday

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Photo by Jessica deStefano

On Sunday, (L-R) Charlie, Rose, and Greta set up shop again

And who wouldn’t laugh at these gems?

Why was the math book too hard to read? 

Answer: Ha, ha, ha, it had too many problems!

Why does nobody talk to circles?

Answer: Because there’s no point. 

What did the ocean say to the pirate?

Answer: Nothing. It just waved!

As of yesterday morning, Charlie had collected $49.75 for the Laguna Food Pantry, and his dad Shaun said that Charlie was going out again for the day to sell his witty wares.

To donate, but unfortunately with no jokester, go to Venmo @Katiemac11.

Longtime resident and business owner Ruben Flores announces candidacy for City Council

Twenty-four-year Laguna Beach resident and business owner Ruben Flores has announced his candidacy for Laguna Beach City Council.

A “tireless advocate for Laguna Beach’s local arts and civic organizations, Laguna’s natural resources, and improving the quality of life for its residents and vitality of its businesses,” Flores’ love for Laguna has been demonstrated through countless donated hours, utilizing his professional expertise “to improve the resources that comprise 80 percent of the city’s landmass – our trees, canyon, parks, beaches, and green spaces,” he says. 

A regular speaker at City Council meetings, Flores’ efforts have contributed to the creation of Laguna’s first Arbor Day Celebration, as well as Laguna’s designation as a Tree City USA. As President of the Beautification Council, he collaborated with the Laguna Beach Garden Club and the city to create the Sister Cities Garden in Heisler Park. Flores is Chair of the Laguna Beach View Restoration Committee, former President of Laguna Beach Beautification Council, has served on the Board of Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and was instrumental in the planning of the recently completed Laguna Beach Village Entrance.

Longtime resident Ruben Flores

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ruben Flores will run for City Council

Flores is actively involved in many national, state, and local organizations, and is known for promoting Laguna artists and their work. He has chaired or served on numerous committees creating one-of-a-kind fundraising events for groups including the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), South Laguna Civic Association, Glennwood House, Laguna Outreach for Community Arts (LOCA), Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), Laguna Sister Cities Association, Laguna Beach Garden Club, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, and was a founding member of the South Laguna Beach Community Garden Park and the HIP District. 

According to Flores, he is promoting “a comprehensive, integrated approach to improving the ambience and vitality of local businesses and business districts – fostering contextual design and ensuring individual projects and developments address the cumulative effect on neighborhoods or areas of town to strengthen the urban mosaic.”

Flores states, “When properties or parcels are combined, zoning reduction adjustments should be made to avoid mansionization of residences and monolithic walls of retail built to the maximum envelope of parcels.”

“Laguna deserves fresh and creative leadership. I will use experience from 24+ years as a local business owner and resident to serve Laguna, championing improvements and policies that amplify the extraordinary character of Laguna Beach, respecting needs of residents, and promoting healthy businesses,” said Flores.

“Laguna needs equitable, reasonable, and uniform enforcement of codes and regulations, as well as a renewed sense of civility. Residents and business owners alike deserve to have a balanced, non-combative forum and venue for responsive and wise decision-making.

“As a result of, and in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity and responsibility to chart a revised course for Laguna. We need to strive to do more for the city than to get back to ‘normal.’ Improving how things have gone before should be the goal.

“City leadership must make a good faith effort to accommodate meeting attendance and community involvement.”

Flores’ dreams for the future of Laguna include goals such as:

--Ensure all can express concerns freely and are given respect

--Enhance canyon, parks, beaches, parkways, and trees

--Advocate for equitable enforcement of regulations/codes

--Support and strengthen our public safety and first responders

--Focus Laguna’s marketing on attracting more visitors who spend money in Laguna

--Bolster “Laguna’s Urban Mosaic” with responsible, wise development

--Involve the world-class talents and creativity of residents in initiatives and programs

--Address remote parking/incentivize trolley use

--Promote water-wise California landscapes 

--Increase permanent al fresco dining opportunities

--Ensure Laguna residents get a meaningful say in Laguna’s development

--Improve interaction and collaboration with Caltrans

--Advance quality of life for all residents

“All Laguna residents should be encouraged to have a meaningful say in the development and policies of the city, with a city council that listens and responds appropriately.”

As our 100th anniversary as a City approaches, Ruben states he “will provide positive, energetic leadership with creative vision and business acumen.”

For more information on Ruben Flores’ campaign, visit www.rubenflorescitycouncil.com.

Governor unveils new Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a statewide, stringent, and slow plan for living with COVID-19 for the long haul. The plan imposes a criteria on tightening and loosening COVID-19 allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to assess how any movement affects the impacts of the disease.

This new framework makes a number of changes to the state’s previous resilience roadmap.

Californians can go to https://covid19.ca.gov to find out where their county falls and what activities are allowable in each county.

“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Governor Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

The Blueprint builds on lessons learned from the first six months of the disease – and the new scientific understanding that has been collected – to create a new system for regulating movement and COVID-19 transmissions. It includes:

--At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier to ensure California better limits the spread of the virus.

--Mandatory metrics – number of cases and positive tests – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and then guide what is allowed.

--A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58.

--A more subtle way of allowing activity: Instead of open vs. closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases.

--A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen.

Based on recent data, each county will fall into one of four colored tiers – Purple (Widespread), Red (Substantial), Orange (Moderate), and Yellow (Minimal) – based on how prevalent COVID-19 is and the extent of community spread. That color will indicate how sectors can operate.

For example, in the Purple (Widespread) tier where the disease is widespread, restaurants can only operate outdoors. But once a county has achieved a lower level of disease transmission and moved into the Red (Substantial) tier, restaurants can operate with 25 percent capacity indoors or 100 patrons, whichever is fewer.

It relies on two leading health metrics: number of cases per 100,000 residents and percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. In addition, counties will also be required to show they are targeting resources and making the greatest efforts to prevent and fight COVID-19 in communities. 

Counties must remain in every tier but purple for a minimum of 21 days before being eligible to move into the next tier. Each Tuesday, California will update each county’s data for the previous week and make corresponding changes to tiers. In order to move into a less restrictive tier, a county must meet that tier’s criteria for two straight weeks.

Conversely, counties that fail to meet the metrics for their current tier for two consecutive weeks must move to the next most restrictive tier. The plan also includes an “emergency brake” where the state can intervene more immediately for concerning factors like hospitalizations.

Purple (Widespread) is substituted for the previous County Data Monitoring List (which has equivalent criteria to Purple). Schools in the Purple tier aren’t permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for TK-6 grades. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Red (Substantial) tier for at least two weeks.

The plan also emphasizes that no matter what restrictions the state puts in place, COVID-19 will get the upper hand if Californians don’t adapt their behaviors for the duration of the pandemic.

That means, until an effective vaccine is distributed, Californians must wear a mask every time they’re with people outside their household. Residents must take activities outside and maintain distance even with loved ones who do not live with them. Californians must realize that the safest place to be is still at home. And the elderly and those with medical conditions should still stay away from others as much as possible.

The Governor also announced new PSAs highlighting the dangers of social gatherings during the pandemic and partnerships with Yelp, Facebook, Google, and OpenTable, which will now encourage businesses to share COVID-19 safety precautions through new features so that customers can make informed decisions to protect their health and safety.

Editor’s Note: The Blueprint website shows our county in the purple tier, the tier representing widespread COVID-19 infection. However, with Orange County’s improved metrics, the county is on the verge of being upgraded to the red tier.

Barbara’s Column

Praise be 


Laguna Beach High School senior student Tess Booth is the future of Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. 

The 17-year-old student worked this summer as a media intern with Laguna’s premier environmental group, which has the goal of engaging the interest of a younger generation in the preservation of open space and its natural inhabitants. 

“Born into a surfing family, I grew up at the beach,” said Tess. “It wasn’t until my internship at Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., where I really began to understand the relationship between the land and the sea. Working on social media has connected me with my community and allowed me the platform to post important issues that relate to how we take care of our backyard.”

Tess worked with Greenbelt Outreach Coordinator Gabriela Worrel this summer to create a social media plan for the organization’s Instagram account.

“Through my internship, I have learned the power that social media has in spreading awareness. Being a Gen Z, I have grown up with Instagram, but I have never used it in this way. Gabriela taught me how to make a social media plan, and she highlighted important questions like who is our audience, or what is the purpose of this post?

Praise be Tess

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Submitted photo

Tess Booth out on trails

“As a result, Instagram feels a lot more personal, and I get a lot more excited about Greenbelt posts than my own. 

“My internship with Greenbelt has encouraged me to stay up to date about environmental issues not only in Laguna Beach, but in the state of California. I am more informed, and I feel way more connected to my community.”

Worrel was equally enthusiastic about the internship. 

“Tess brought a new perspective to the social media strategy, including a fun and light-hearted approach to sharing information about local wildlife and wildland,” said Worrel.

“It’s exciting to work with her because she brings a fresh energy to our social media posts, has helped us double our following, and most importantly – is helping to engage even more people in the struggle to protect our habitats for future generations.”

What Tess learned about the environment this summer built on a foundation of classes she has taken at Laguna Beach High School (LBHS).

Praise be Zoom

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Submitted photo

Tess Booth (upper left), Gabriela Worrel, and Norm Grossman

 “Every science class I have taken, including biology, physics, and chemistry have always set aside at least one unit to discuss the relationship between the specific science and the environment,” said Tess. “I specifically remember Ms [Alexandra] Holtz (LBHS Chemistry teacher) showing us how to calculate our individual and family carbon footprint.” 

What’s Next? “During COVID everything is up in the air regarding college, but I plan to attend a four-year college and study communications, journalism, and literature,” said Tess.

She plans to incorporate the environment in her future studies and beyond to a career. 

Tess will receive a $500 honorarium for her work this summer. She also plans to continue her internship into the school year as time permits.

“The opportunity to get a younger person involved is really thrilling,” said Greenbelt President Norm Grossman. “Tess represents a deepening continuation of the legacy of LGB’s environmental advocacy and the engagement of the younger generation in environmental conservation. 

 “We will continue to find ways to involve the younger generation in this important work.”

Grossman learned of Tess’s interest in interning with the Greenbelt from her mother, Melissa Martinez Booth, Laguna Beach clothing designer.

Tess is the younger of Melissa and Jeff Booth’s two children. Their son, Travis, is 19, a student at Saddleback Community College. 

Praise be Booth family

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Booth Family – Jeff, Melissa, Travis, and Tess

The kids grew up in Laguna, as did their father.   

“As a family of surfers, we have always held a deep respect for the ocean and the environment,” said Tess.” I can’t take any credit. 

“But my whole family follows Greenbelt, so when they have questions about the post or what environmental issues are going on, I usually have the answer for them and we discuss a lot of the content together.” 

Engaging the younger generation has been part of Laguna Greenbelt’s strategy since 2015.

Many young people along our coast are well-aware of environmental issues tied to our beaches and ocean, but there is a need to continue to educate the public – and especially young people – about the history and ecological importance of caring for our land-based ecosystems, Worrel said. 

Laguna Greenbelt has helped preserve open space in Orange County since 1968 and was instrumental in establishing the coastal wilderness system, cherished and enjoyed today and in the evolution of the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor.

 For more information about Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. visit www.lagunagreenbelt.org and www.wildlifecorridor.org.


Our city is blessed to have organizations that care – whether it’s for the preservation of open space, trees, pets, or the look and feel of Laguna, but most of all about our neighbors in need.

Laguna Food Pantry first opened during the 1993 firestorm and has since then provided free, fresh, nutritious groceries to needy families and individuals who live, work, and attend school in or around Laguna Beach.

It is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Monday - Friday, at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd, between the Dog Park and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. 

Research shows that people who have proper nutrition are better able to stay healthy, work their jobs, take care of their families, attend school, and avoid homelessness. Now, as COVID-19 rampages, the Pantry is more needed that ever.

Workers are being furloughed or laid off, parents are coping with different school schedules, and we are concerned about exposure to the virus. 

The Pantry has been able to expand its services to help those in dire straits and its commitment to the belief that no one should go hungry. 

Praise be Food Pantry

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Laguna Food Pantry

Pantry Board Chair Susan Thomas and Executive Director Anne Belyea expressed their gratitude in a letter commending the volunteers, donors, community partners, and supporters who have made these trying times more bearable for some of the most vulnerable among us.   

About 500-plus families a week depend on the Pantry for food. 

Approximately half of the shoppers have babies and children to feed. 

The Pantry has responded to the restrictions due to the epidemic by serving shoppers in a drive-through distribution program set up in its parking lot from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Monday - Friday. Volunteers bag the food and take it outside for curbside pickup. 

About 5,000 pounds of food is collected and distributed every single weekday, funded by private donations, foundation grants, churches, schools, and local government. 

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of helpers who help us by writing checks, helping at our facility, collecting food, and making monthly PayPal donations to keep our shelves stocked,” said Thomas.

“Your help and participation are key. Please – help us keep up the good work!” 

For information about volunteering, call (949) 497-7121 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Missing link

Some folks have noticed that they haven’t seen me at the grocery store, the pharmacy or taking notes at the recent demonstration downtown. It’s nice to be missed, but due to my age and a health issue – nothing critical – I have had strict orders not to go roaming outside my front yard except for solitary walks. 

I will cover election news, the forums, other events, and write my column, which I hope you would miss more than my presence. 

Once I am sprung, I will head for the hair salon, the nursery, the needlepoint shop, and of course, in-person City council meetings.

In the meantime: Be safe. 

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Submit suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Silvery solace

Silvery solace water

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Gray of the water, gray of the sky.” –Ilana Fogelson

New generation takes over Crushing Hunger and enlists sponsor to support Laguna Food Pantry

The younger siblings of Crushing Hunger founders, Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) sophomores Molly Starr, Benji Jenkins, Sophia Pachl, have taken over for Sam Starr, Jackson Jenkins, and Ella Pachl. 

The trio wasted no time in enlisting a corporate sponsor to support the Laguna Food Pantry. In the absence of in-person food drives due to COVID-19, this expands the reach and ease.

Irvine-based Withum dedicated their company’s charitable efforts to Laguna Food Pantry for the month of September by selecting from the seven most needed items via an Amazon Wish List and had them direct-shipped. 

Withum is a technology-driven advisory and accounting firm, helping clients in the new reality of doing business today.

New generation girls

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Submitted photo

Sophia Pachl (on left) and Anne Pachl of Withum

Crushing Hunger was inspired by the story of seven-year-old Kaden Newton, a Texas boy who started a nonprofit called Mac and Cheese and Pancakes.

After visiting a local food pantry, Kaden realized the pantry didn’t have a lot of kid-friendly foods. So for his birthday, he created an Amazon Wish List for just those two items. On his birthday, a room in his home was stacked high with Mac and Cheese and pancake mix.

“It made us think if he was able to help people, we could just as easily help out our community,” Ella said in a 2017 interview with the OC Register

The project started as a way for the teens to meet community service hours at Laguna Beach High School. Months later, it has turned into teamwork for a passion.

New generation trio

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Submitted photo

LBHS sophomores (L-R) Molly Starr, Benji Jenkins, and Sophia Pachl

After their first visit to Laguna Food Pantry, which was an eye-opener, they expanded their reach.

The Crushing Hunger website states, “With the help of Amazon and generous donors like you, we were able to spread the word, and our reach. Each wish list addresses specific food needs that anyone can choose from – from wherever you are – based on budget, preference, and with free shipping!”

That first Crushing Hunger delivery to the pantry in 2017 coincided with November’s National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month.

Now Molly, Benji, and Sophia are carrying on the work, and they report that 

the boxes are still coming! 

For more information about Crushing Hunger, go to www.crushinghunger.org.

For more information about Withum, go to www.withum.com.

Yellow gold glow

Yellow gold sun

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The fog is silent and glides lithely along as light from the sun tinges it yellow gold

Ruby reflections

Ruby reflections sun

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Photo by Scott Brazier

A rosy glaze on the water

A Laguna Halloween

A Laguna witch

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Photo by Judy Barry

Three residents took up the challenge and spotted some Halloween decorations around town. Looks like this witch is trying to find a spell to cast on some poor soul who wanders by. 

A Laguna skeletons

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Photo by Judy Barry

These guys are doing some serious reading while enjoying the sun and libations. Hope they put on some sunscreen.

A Laguna mailbox

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Photo by Jean Brotherton

No mailman is going to deliver to this mailbox! 

A Laguna boo

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Photo by Regina Hartley

Take a photo of your decorations or creative ones you’ve spotted. Be sure to tag @stunewslaguna on Instagram so we see them and can re-share them! (If you don’t have Instagram, feel free to email them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Halloween sunset

Halloween sunset clouds

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Photo by James Vaughan

View from Temple Hills on Halloween – haunted heavens

Moulton Meadows bark park expansion on track


City staff will seek council approval at tonight’s meeting to present to the Planning Commission plans for a permanent play area for dogs at Moulton Meadows. 

 A six-month trial of the doggie playground behind the tennis courts has resulted in recommendation by the city’s Recreation Committee to make the bark park permanent and slightly larger than the trial size.

The committee had considered several options for the pilot canine play area, and voted seven in favor, one opposed, and one abstention for the Moulton Meadows location in Arch Beach Heights. 

A majority of the public that weighed in on the notion of setting aside a portion of the park for dogs and their owners to cavort approved the proposed location and the increased size, according to the staff report submitted by Mark McAvoy, Director of Public Works. 

The bark park requires a Planning Commission hearing for a conditional use permit. The commission will review proposed materials, location size, and signage for the project. Residents’ concerns will also be addressed at the hearing.

Staff does not believe parking will be adversely affected. 

If the CUP is approved, staff will return to the council for funding, estimated at $110,000. 

The temporary site will be maintained until the permanent facility is constructed.

School Board deletes by-law on gavel rotation


Board of Education members are no longer offered equal opportunities to serve as president.

The board on Tuesday voted to eliminate from its by-laws the annual election of a clerk and president and the intent that all board members would serve in turn in those offices. School District Superintendent Jason Viloria presented the deletion of the by-law that had come as a recommendation by the Board at their by-law workshop on February 6.

“He presented the item, but the board made the decision,” said Board President Jan Vickers. “We determined that the by-law did not reflect what we wanted our practices [to] be going forward. The board didn’t think it was the best practice because some of them work and they didn’t feel they had the time. Also, people travel and miss meetings as well as agenda reviews for the next meeting.”

“I help develop board policies with the school board. The board works together to develop their by-laws with the district’s legal counsel. I have no opinion on the matter,” said Viloria.

Eliminated from the by-laws was the stipulation that the board should hold an annual organizational meeting at which a president and clerk would be elected and that after serving one year, the clerk may serve a year as president. The by-law continued: It is the intent of the board that all board members will rotate through the sequence of clerk and president.

The elimination of the by-law pertaining to the rotation was discussed at a board meeting in February, raising some eyebrows. 

Since then, the board has been publically criticized for twice bypassing Dee Perry for the presidency.

“You disregarded rotation and now you are repealing it,” said board critic Howard Hills, one of the four members of the audience to speak against dumping the by-law.

Sheri Morgan expressed concern that repealing the rotation might concentrate the power in a faction of the board and dilute the clout of district parents.

“There have been irregularities and that’s not right,” said Pat Menne, Perry’s neighbor and supporter. 

The vote to repeal the by-law was 3-1-0. Board Member Carol Normandin left the meeting before the vote was taken during the hearing on the 27th of 28 items on the agenda.

Perry said she wasn’t surprised the item was scheduled so late in the agenda, nor at the outcome. Hers was the lone vote to keep the pertinent by-law intact.

“I support rotation,” said Perry, “It’s really important. We should be setting a good example for the kids; changing the rules in mid-stream isn’t right. My philosophy as a teacher is we should give everyone a chance.” 

Vickers, a board member for almost 28 years, is serving her third consecutive term as president, a blatant violation of the by-law, according to Hills.

She pointed out that Perry had nominated her for president for the second straight year at the end of her 2017 term, in a testy exchange with Hills.

Perry said the board convinced her at the 2017 organizational meeting that some big issues upcoming before the board needed a more experienced hand holding the gavel. 

“I nominated Jan because she is very experienced and intelligent,” said Perry. “I agreed to serve as clerk for one more year, but I said I wanted to be president the next year (2019).”

Hills said he was surprised when the board passed over Perry in 2017, but was shocked when they did it again after she was re-elected in November. He considered it a power grab. 

Vickers contended that the president had no more power than the other members of the board.

“The president runs the meetings – that’s it,” she said. 

However, the deleted by-law stated that the president with the district superintendent or designee establishes the agenda and also develops the board calendar.

 The item will come back to the board for a second reading, at which time amendments can be made or the changes will take effect.

Dennis’ Tidbits


March 22, 2019

Super spring and super bloom 

Dennis 5Although the Vernal (Spring) Equinox and Autumnal Equinox occurs on the 20th of March and the 23rd of September of this year, the twelve hours of sun time actually occur on or about March 16th and on or about September 25th or 26th of each year. Last Saturday, the 16th had a sunrise at 7:01 a.m. and sunset at 7:01 p.m. By the 21st, sunrise will occur at 6:57 a.m. and sunset will happen at 7:04 p.m.

After many weeks of frequent rain (much needed) and cold, sunny and warm weather has made a welcome comeback here in Southern California. For the first time in ages, the entire Pacific West Coast WAS under bright sunshine here on St. Patty’s Day and Palm Springs saw its very first 80-degree day of 2019. 

Even the Pacific Northwest got in on the warmth with places like Portland seeing their first 70-degree temps of the year. It’s been a long winter here in the West so people are savoring the warmth we thought would never show up again. Laguna Canyon is brimming with green not seen in years and the mustard is going off! 

With our local deserts getting generous moisture too, desert flowers are going to be nothing short of spectacular this spring. Suddenly a ten-mile long lake has come to life in of all places, Death Valley! It’s only a few inches deep, but it’s the first time in over a generation that this lake has come into existence as Death Valley, which only collects about three inches of rain annually. It has amassed nearly double that since December thanks to several atmospheric rivers that bring plentiful moisture because that rain source is coming from a different direction. Even Las Vegas, which averages only four inches a year, has doubled that since December as well.

On the 21st, fall begins on the other side of the equator, so the Roaring 40s storm machine comes to life. Just like the North Pacific storm belt in our hemisphere, the Roaring 40s crank out intense lows that travel from west to east. Unlike our hemisphere, where land masses stand in the way, the other hemisphere can pop out storms that can occasionally travel the entire globe and come full circle. 

It is these intense lows that are responsible for much of our south and southwest ground swells that travel as much as 7,000 miles and take over a week to reach our shores. One such low is going to send us our first Southern hemisphere swell of the new season this upcoming week with possible waves of four to six feet at premier Orange County south facing breaks. Stay tuned on that one.

Local ocean temps here in Orange County are at their chilliest in four years, running at 54-57 degrees.

And finally, fifty years ago on this date, I lost my Pop to alcohol when his liver cried no more. He was only 54. I still miss him dearly. 

I’m proud to say I’ve only been drunk once in my entire life and that was when I was about 17. I woke up the next day with my head in the toilet. Never drank again to this day! That’s probably why I’m still above ground with a very healthy liver to boot. 

Nuff said, ALOHA!

Guest Column


By Arnold Silverman

Talk about diversity, I had this friend of mine who was devotedly bi-religious. As you might surmise, Isadore Kelly was the creation of a Jewish mother and an Irish father. His father, who emigrated in the 1920’s from a beleaguered Dublin, was a devout Catholic. He went to Mass every morning, wore a huge cross necklace, said prayers each night, and belonged to the Knights of Columbus. His mother, an orthodox Jew, prayed in Hebrew each day, attended Sabbath services at the local synagogue, and observed every Jewish holiday, some of which I never heard of before. She served kosher meals to the family and on Passover followed its strict rituals. While his father maintained some of his Irish brogue, his mother spoke with a New York accent you’d need a buzz saw to crack through.

While she respected her husband’s adherence to his faith, she would personally not participate in Christian rituals or observances. At Christmas, she would permit gift giving, but would not tolerate a Christmas tree in the home. Also, she was uncomfortable when her husband had his local priest over for dinner or some other gathering. He in turn respected her observances but would not attend a temple service or enthusiastically participate in the various Jewish holidays, and while respectful, he was not comfortable if she invited her rabbi into their home. That said, their respective religious preferences did not seem to negatively affect their relationship and they seemed genuinely fond of each other.

A family of two faiths

Izzy’s father made his living as a carpenter and general handyman. That guy could repair almost anything. While with limited education, he was well informed and appeared to be a very intelligent man. His mother, who attended CCNY for two years, was equally bright and aware and was an avid reader. Politically, he was a so-called progressive Republican and she was a typical New York, liberal Democrat.

Izzy adopted both faiths. He had a Bar Mitzvah, attended Hebrew school, was baptized, took Communion each week, and sang in the local parish’s church with a pleasant, soprano voice before he went from soprano to a resonant bass in one year after he turned 13 and adolescence “got” him. He found great warmth and comfort in both faiths and pledged himself to their moral and ethical principles. 

I met him at old PS 28 and our local Hebrew school in Jersey City. He excelled in every academic endeavor at the public school and in one year he was speaking fluent Hebrew at the other. Though I was not as education-focused as he and hated Hebrew school, we became close friends. My interests were more in sports, which his in learning and academia. He was an avid reader and could finish a book in a day or two and discuss it in detail. 

Izzy bullied

With his disinterest in playing sports and his recognized scholastic superiority, he was not the most popular person in in our high school. I guess envy was an issue and, sadly, with his appearance (he had a large aquiline nose), he was derided for his Jewishness. 

“Hey, lousy Jew, get outa heah. We don’t want no **** in this school!” was a relatively mild denigration. When confronted with this issue by his peers, he would explain that he observed both religious traditions and was as much a Catholic as a Jew. 

The former did not matter; he was a Jew and that was it. Why I was not treated similarly, I do not know. I guess it might have been my unobtrusive, “get along” manner.  Also, I was an above average athlete and they wanted me on their various teams, I had a so-called non-Jewish face, and religiously was not as observant as he, which means that I did not display my heritage. 

Izzy loved baseball

Izzy loved baseball but until “that” day he never joined us in our games. “I have to go to church or the synagogue or I have to study” were his typical responses when he was invited to play with us. These would usually result in derisive comments such as, “Them Hebs is all the same. They ain’t like us except youse, Onnie (that’s me).”  Izzy did not neglect exercise all together. He had a chinning bar wedged into his bedroom door frame and a set of barbells. We wondered and joked about what he did with them because he seemed to be a scrawny kid without coordination. He was not. 

“That” day arrived one bright, summer day in 1943. On summer vacation from school, we chose up sides almost every day to play baseball in a local, sandlot park. In those years Jersey City had no manicured fields like those prevalent today in almost every town. Pershing Field had a running track surrounding a dusty, dirty field that sometimes had to be coated with some kind of oil to keep playing field dirt from coating the neighborhood on a windy day. On this particular day, Izzy, free from school studies and religious commitments, sat in the stands to watch us play. Because a couple of “regulars” failed to show up, we were short of players. Seeing Izzy sitting there, I invited him to join us in the game. 

A true pitcher

After a little persuasion and pleading, he agreed to play. The other players, not too enthusiastic, nevertheless accepted him and because the other team wanted no part of him since he would not only be a sure out, but also his fielding would be a disaster, he ended up on my team. I put on my catcher’s mitt, borrowed a fielder’s glove for Izzy, and tossing a ball back and forth with him, commenced to warm up. Where in hell do we play this guy without his causing too much damage or injuring himself, I wondered. 

As we played catch, I saw that the balls he threw were always right on target and as we continued, he threw harder until I had to cease because my gloved hand started to hurt. “Hey guys, I have an idea. Trust me on this one. Let Izzy pitch and if he gets bombed, we’ll put him in right field.” “Are youse nuts or somethin’? He can’t reach the plate? How’s he gonna pitch?” “Trust me,” I repeated. “You’re in for a surprise.” With a few uncomplimentary uses of the vernacular, the guys assumed their positions, I crouched behind home plate, no mask or protective padding, and awaited the first batter.

Baseball changes Izzy’s world

“Izzy, I want you to throw that ball just like you were throwing to me before. I’ll put my mitt where I want you to throw the ball, and I want you to hit it with everything you have.” Izzy nodded in agreement, and the game commenced. Without winding up – he did not know how – Izzy threw the first pitch. The ball crossed the batter’s knees and popped into my mitt like a loud slap. Three swings later, with Izzy throwing harder and faster, the batter struck out. “Who is that guy?” I aint seen him before. That can’t be that Heb, Izzy. Are youse kiddin?” “It sure is Izzy and you guys are in trouble.” We won handily; the other side did not get a hit.

The world changed for him. Suddenly he was popular and accepted as one of us.  And then one afternoon just thinking about how things had changed for him, I got my crazy idea. I would assemble a team of Jewish guys from all sections of the city who could play and have Izzy as our pitcher. I’d call the team the JJB’s, the Jersey Jew Boys, and play exhibition games against teams in the area. During and after each game, we’d literally have someone pass around a hat for contributions from spectators and distribute the funds equally between the two teams. Now, remember this is 1943, we were 14-15-year-old kids slated for the draft when we hit 18. If you were employed in some defense plant earning $40-$50 a week as a couple of our guys were, you were doing OK. Adding a few bucks a game once or twice a week for each of us made us “rich.”

Izzy wows the crowd

I told one of our neighbors who was a sports columnist for the Jersey Journal, a local rag, what I was doing, and he wrote a piece on it. In two weeks I was overwhelmed with responses. We actually ran tryouts and in time assembled what I thought was a pretty decent team. After a few practices, I lined up a few games with some local teams.   Our first game was against the Mulligan Marauders. Sponsored by a local pub, they had uniforms and all the necessary equipment. I tried to get some of the merchants to sponsor us, but to no avail. Who in his right mind would listen to a 14-year-old kid asking for sponsorship of a bunch of Jews playing baseball? Each of us had to chip in to purchase inexpensive uniforms, balls, bats, and shoes with cleats. 

The game began. Immediately several Marauders berated our team. “Hey, what are youse *** doin’ on this field? Youse don’t belong heah! When we get through wit youse, youse won’t be able to count that high.” Other uses of street vernacular alluding to our faith, our sexuality, and our athleticism were too crude to include here. Well, Izzy gets on the mound, and having learned now how to wind up does an imitation of Bobby Feller, the Hall of Fame pitcher of the Cleveland Indians, and zips that ball in there with a resounding snap in my glove. The batter was frozen. “Strike one yelled the umpire!”  And that’s the way it went. 

A no hitter 

We managed a few hits and a run; they got one hit, a dribbler to third that our guy could not handle. They just could not connect with Izzy’s fastball. “Youse Hebs was lucky”,” said one of them. “Let’s do it again next Saturday.” “We can’t”, I replied, “one of our guys can’t play on Saturdays. How about Sunday afternoon after church?” While the day’s take was modest, I figured that if we were as good as I thought we were with Izzy, we’d make more each game. 

The following week Izzy pitched a no hitter and we won 3 to 0. As we continued winning in the following weeks, Izzy’s and our reputations grew. We even played against a local, champion high school team and beat them soundly (Izzy allowed 2 hits).  Word started to spread, and the Journal did a nice piece on us. When Izzy asked that they not use his name, it was then that we learned that his folks, believing he was at church choir practice, had no idea that he was playing baseball on Sunday afternoons.  More people came to watch us and the “take” increased to where we were making some $10 a game. When the next “event” happened, we had won 14 games and lost none. 

An injury

Playing against Otto Mack’s Funeral Parlor team, which had won 15 straight, in the 5th inning of a scoreless game, Izzy pitched to their best hitter. Anticipating another fastball, the batter swung and hit a screaming line drive right towards Izzy. Reacting instinctively, he turned to avoid the ball, but it hit him on his right elbow. His writhing in pain, we ran to the mound to see what we could do. A doctor who was sitting in the stands came on the field, examined him, and advised that nothing seemed to be broken but that it would be sore for a week or two, and that he should rest that arm. 

As we were about to call on one of our guys to warm up to replace him, Izzy stood adamantly on the mound and said he was going to stay in the game. How are you going to pitch with that elbow?” I asked. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll show you how.”   


And so he did. Izzy threw a few pitches to me left handed, said he was ready to go, and the next batter stepped to the plate. Izzy wound up and threw a bullet past the poor guy. To tell you the truth, he threw that ball so hard, I had trouble seeing it. What the hell is going on here, I thought. Here is my old friend, Izzy, a nerd if ever there was one, pitching 90 mph fast balls; ambidextrous, not only religiously, but also athletically. We beat those guys 5 to 0. Lefty Izzy did not allow a hit. 

Each of our games was scheduled around Izzy’s busy agenda, Hebrew school (no vacation from there), Sabbath services, Mass, choir practice, and you name it. Thus, we played on Sunday afternoons which was ok because we drew more people, especially when word got out that there was a kid phenom out there (Izzy used the name Irv McMann) who could pitch unhittable fastballs both right and left handed. One Sunday he could not play because he was asked to sing in the church choir for a funeral. We lost that game 12 to 4. 

Shortage of baseball players

Now remember, here I was only in my teens and there I was arranging schedules and getting us a little publicity. I guess that was acceptable then because everyone else was in service or working 50-60 hours a week in some defense factory. Roosevelt approved the continuance of professional baseball, but the players were so mediocre, there was not significant interest – the Joe D’s, Ted Williams, Hank Greenbergs, and Bobby Fellers were all in service. Thus, whenever word got out that Izzy was pitching, we had a respectable attendance. 

This was wartime and those best players being in service, baseball scouts were constantly looking for anyone who could fill the gap until the real professional players returned home. It was no surprise then that word spread about Izzy, and that one Sunday a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies showed up in the stands. Owned and managed by the aged Connie Mack for some 50-years, they were one of the worst teams in baseball and desperately needed help just to maintain their minimum attendance. This was a time, of course, when there was no TV and teams made revenue mostly by ticket sales, food, parking, and advertising in the stadium, and when finances got really desperate, selling a player or two to one of the other clubs like the NY Yankees. The average salary not too high, most ball players had winter jobs to make ends meet. 

Scout attends game

Unaware of the presence of the scout, Izzy pitched a one hitter, using his left arm against left handed batters and his right against right handers. Where he got that idea I’ll never know, but he had it down to perfection. The game ended, we picked up and distributed the “earnings” and went our separate ways. Before leaving, I was approached by a wiry, old guy who introduced himself as Lefty Benson. I remembered him from his playing days. I still had one of his Fleer’s gum baseball cards, and he seemed pleased with the recognition. He asked me for Izzy’s phone number and address and said he wanted to meet his parents. Offering to show him where Izzy lived, we walked together to the apartment building and I left. 

“Hey Onnie, a guy from the Phillies stopped by the apartment last night, said he liked my pitching and would be interested in making me some kind of offer. My dad spoke to him while I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack. Dad at least wanted to hear what the deal was; my mother wanted no part of it. I caught the dickins from my mom for fibbing about choir practice each Sunday, and my dad didn’t know what to think. Somewhat proud of me, I guess he could not believe I could play like that.  That guy said he would be over tonight to tell us what was what.” 

First offer 

Benson arrived on schedule, sat down, and proceeded to make an offer. What he was unaware of was that Izzy’s mother and father had spent the night and most of the day discussing the issue. While his father supported letting Izzy decide what he wanted to do, his mother took the position that under no circumstances would he play professional or any kind of ball, that he would remain in school, go on to college and then decide what he wanted to do. They did not argue. His father saw benefits on both sides and suggested they at least hear what the offer was. His mother stood her ground and said she was not interested. “But what do we do if they offer him a $5,000 bonus and $2,000 a month?” asked his father. Arms folded, she replied that she did not give a damn. He was going to some good university, get an education, and be prepared for the rest of his life. “OK, let’s at least ask Izzy what he would like to do.” 

“To tell you the truth mom and dad, I love playing ball. I never knew I was that good, and while it would be great to get that bonus to make it a little easier on both of you, I really don’t want to leave school. I want to take myself as far as I can educationally; maybe get into medicine, law or engineering. I may even want to be writer. Whatever, I’d like to follow that path. Also, I love my religious life with the shul and church and would prefer not interrupting it. I know I’ll be able to continue both at college.” 

Final offer 

And that was it. Benson offered Izzy a $2,500 bonus and a monthly salary of $1,500 a month (again, remember this is the 1940s; not the money-crazy TV-sponsorship time of today). When the family turned it down, he surmised that they were negotiating and increased the offer to a $7,500 bonus and $2,500 a month salary.  When they explained to him that at this stage in his life Izzy was not interested in playing ball, that he wanted to pursue some kind of professional, academic career and that while they appreciated the offer, they would not accept it, Benson left. He called back several times over the month and finally gave up. 

After high school, Izzy and I went our separate ways. Graduating with honors from high school, he was awarded with a full scholarship grant to Harvard where he earned his BA, MA and Doctorate in English literature. While I believe they anticipated that he would play ball for them, he never did. He has written several highly successful novels and a Tony Award-winning Broadway play, which was made into a very successful movie. Maybe you saw it. It was called No Majors for Me. Oh, incidentally, Izzy isn’t Izzy anymore. He’s Erin Kelly as in Erin Go Bragh, but we knew him when.

Amateur Honorable Mentions selected by Laguna Bluebelt Coalition in 8th Annual Photo Contest

Amateur Honorable Wertz

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Courtesy of Laguna Bluebelt

Honorable Mention Amateur – Stephen Wertz, “Lunch”

Amateur Honorable Greenberg

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Courtesy of Laguna Bluebelt

Honorable Mention Amateur – Bryan Greenberg, “Drift Would”

Amateur Honorable Huffer

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Courtesy of Laguna Bluebelt

Honorable Mention Amateur – Brian Huffer, “Confine”

Park Ave View 

Park Ave street

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

So much to see from this vantage point

Beach Volleyball tournaments held at Main Beach last weekend were a hit

Photos by Neil Olson

The Men’s and Women’s 2019 California Beach Volleyball Association “A” level tournaments were held at Main Beach Laguna over the weekend with incredible weather and good sized crowds enjoying some very competitive beach volleyball. 

Beach Volleyball ball

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The competition was strong and the fun was radiant

Hometown locals ruled the beach, with Jacquelyn Strawn and Lauren McCarthy taking first in the girl’s division and earning their coveted “AA” beach rating. Laguna’s Ayrton Garcia and Joshua Meiswinkle held off Chris Trauger and Jake Jones from Simi Valley in front of a strong and raucous local crowd to earn their first “AA” rating. 

Beach Volleyball girls

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(L-R) Amber Shafer, Marya Samuelson, and champions Jacquelyn Strawn and Lauren McCarthy

For years, the best players in the world have come to Laguna Beach to be a part of these tournaments. 

The beach tournaments are organized and sanctioned by the California Beach Volleyball Association (www.cbva.com), a grassroots nonprofit supporting the sport of beach volleyball, and The City of Laguna Beach.

Beach Volleyball guys

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(L-R) Ayrton Garcia, Joshua Meiswinkle, Jake Jones, and Chris Trauger

The tournament’s full results:

April 7 | MALE - A

Finish Earned

--Ayrton Garcia, Joshua Meiswinkel 1 AA

--Chris Trauger, Jake Jones 2 A

--Ken Holloway, Nick Ramsey 3 A

--Joshua McDevitt, Eduardo Mota 3 A

--Brett Kirkconnell, Mark McDevitt 5 B

--Jason Smith, Nick Collins 5 B

--Taylor Storm, Keith Boothroyd 5 B

--Andrew Reavis, James Bardin 5 B

Beach Volleyball men

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Men’s A division group picture, before the battles

April 6 | Female - A

Finish Earned

--Jacquelyn Strawn, Lauren McCarthy 1 AA

--Amber Shaffer, Marya Samuelson 2 A

--Danielle Gallo, Sheri Myers 3 A

--Alanna Shields, Hannah Ledesma 3 A

--Brooke Birch, Victoria Ford Burke 5 B

--Taylor Lewis, Jennifer Smith 5 B

Beach Volleyball women

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Women’s A Division group picture

Mark your calendars for the Women’s 46th Annual Laguna Open on May 11, the Men’s 65th Annual Laguna Open June 1-2, the Girl’s CBVA 14’s, 16’s, and 18’s July 2-5, King and Queen of the Beach in October (exact date TBA), and the Christmas Polar Bear 4-Person Toy Drive on December 15. 

For more information on the tournaments, contact Kirk Morgan, Director, at (714) 381-4000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Alexis Braun, City of Laguna Beach Recreation Supervisor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit www.cbva.com or www.lagunaopen.org

Leadership Laguna graduates to receive certificates


Participants in the 2019 Leadership Laguna Citizen’s Academy will receive certificates of completion at tonight’s City Council meeting. 

The certificates confirm the successful completion of the program, which consisted of five, two-hour workshops that introduced the Laguna Beach residents to the inner workings of the city government. The workshops were held on Thursday evenings, beginning March 7 at the Susi Q.

Participants were introduced to volunteer opportunities to become involved by serving on City commissions, boards or committees and perhaps even to consider running for City Council.

 Speakers included City Manager John Pietig and heads of departments. They discussed how City Hall runs, some of the issues facing the city today and what residents can do to become more engaged in the community. 

Participants evaluate the speaker and the program, recommending what they would have liked to have seen and heard more or less of and from whom they heard it.

The academy was the brainchild of former Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede and Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, and she continues to be involved.

Dennis’ Tidbits 


April 26, 2019

Sunrise, sunset 

Dennis 5Today’s sunrise occurs at 6:07 a.m. and sunset will be at 7:31 p.m. PDT. Back in the day, the last Sunday in April was when Daylight Savings began, and it was done on the last Sunday in October. Then in 1974, due to the energy crisis, the entire year that year was on Daylight Savings and on New Year’s Day of 1975 they went back to the standard mode. 

Then they started messing with that time change, in the 80s I think it was. They moved up the beginning of Daylight Savings to the first Sunday in April and kept it at the last Sunday in October. A few years later the first Sunday in November was enacted.

Now we have the second Sunday in March for Daylight Savings to start and the time to turn our timepieces back one hour remains at the first Sunday in November. Today, a few states, like Oregon and Washington, are considering having Daylight Savings go the entire year. Trouble is, they’re so far north, during December and most of January, the sunrise doesn’t happen until almost 8 a.m. under regular standard time. So with the change, it wouldn’t even be daylight until about 8:15 a.m., meaning kids would be going to school in darkness. 

In Seattle for instance, the sunrise in December is at 7:56 a.m. and sunset is at 4:19 p.m. Sure, you’d gain the extra hour in the afternoon, but most schools get out at 3 or 3:30 p.m. anyway, well before sunset. Down here at latitude 34, the latest sunrise of the year is 6:58 a.m., PST and the earliest sunset is at 4:42 p.m., so it’s not as extreme. Anyhow, stay tuned on that one.

Now that it’s the last week of April, it’s doubtful we’ll see any more significant Pacific storms come through here. I’d be surprised if we even got another half-inch the rest of the way. The 2018-19 season officially comes to an end on June 30th. May averages less than a quarter-inch and June only gets around a tenth at the most. We did OK for the season though with over 17 inches here and the entire state experienced a year of abundance. Normal for a season here in Laguna is 13.95, so no drought at least this year.

Have a nice weekend, ALOHA!

26th class of LBPD Citizens Academy graduates

On Thursday, April 18, the 26th class of the Laguna Beach Police Department Citizens Academy graduated. The graduation ceremony was held at the Royal Hawaiian. 

Nineteen citizens graduated from the program and have joined the Citizens Academy Alumni, now 484 strong. Attending the graduation ceremony were family members of the graduates and staff representatives from the Laguna Beach Police Department.   

The Citizens Academy is a 12-week non-stress course that meets one night a week from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The program is designed to provide community members with a better understanding of the Laguna Beach Police Department and to help foster better relations between police personnel and community members. 

26th class group

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Submitted photo

The 26th class of the LBPD Citizens Academy – 

Top row (L-R): CSO Nikie Hernandez, Dominic Corbett, Peter Steinbach, Jeff Gufarotti, Dana Jensen, Stephen Jenks, Karen Jenk, and Sr. PSO Ross Fallah;

Middle row (L-R): Debra Hight, Manal Kerfoot, Martina Caron, Vanessa Davis, Andrea McGinley, Marvina Shilling, and Brent Wanstreet;

From row (L-R): Officer Shar Hariri, Greg Kendrick, Donna Charter, Robin Scogna, Ana Botelho, William Topaz, COP Mona Roberts, Lt. Joe Torres, and Fred Sabatine (not pictured)

The Citizens Academy includes instruction in the following areas: history of the police department, investigations, traffic enforcement, accident investigation, driving under the influence investigation, gangs, narcotics, neighborhood watch, crime prevention, crime scene investigation, police K-9 program, professional services, and volunteer programs. 

Academy members are also given the chance to shoot at the police firing range, participate in mock car stop scenarios, and to take a tour of the Orange County Jail. 

The next Citizens Academy will start in January 2020. 

Those interested in attending the next class or with questions regarding the Citizens Academy, contact Ross Fallah at (949) 464-6624 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club hosts Annual Open House on May 11, all invited

The Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club is hosting is annual open house on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The club has two bowling greens, a clubhouse, and a patio. People from all over the world visit the club as it has one of the most beautiful and stunning views in the United States. 

Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club members, young, old, novice, or veteran, enjoy both social and tournament bowls. The Club provides ongoing complimentary lessons in basics, strategy, etiquette, and team games.

Laguna Beach scenic

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Courtesy of FB

Scenic views of ocean while bowling

This event is held on the same day at lawn bowling clubs all over the country to encourage people to give lawn bowling a try. The gate is open for anyone who would like to try this great game and meet some spectacular people. Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club, established in 1931, is the largest lawn bowling club in the U.S.

Although it may be the largest in the U.S., it’s not the oldest by any means.

The oldest lawn bowls site still played on is in Southampton, England. Records show that the green has been in operation since 1299 AD. There are other claims of greens being in use before that time, but these are unsubstantiated by proper or sufficient documentation. 

Laguna Beach panorama

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Photo by Kole Carr

LBLB welcomes the community to its open house on Saturday, May 11

During the reign of Richard II, bowls were referred to as “gettre de pere” or “jetter de pierre,” and were actual stones, probably as round as possible. In the early 15th century, bowls were made of hardwoods and, after the 16th century discovery of Santo Domingo, of lignum vitae, a very dense wood. 

The Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club (LBLBC) is located in Heisler Park at 455 Cliff Dr, overlooking Main Beach to the south and Picnic Beach to the north.

Blue Bell Foundation for Cats says furr-well to Eric Mazzella as he leaves to focus on his education


For almost two years, Eric Mazzella has been a caregiver and nurturing friend to the residents of Blue Bell Cat Foundation. On Sunday, his fellow cat lovers and staff members said goodbye to him at a party held in his honor.

Blue Bell Happe

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Submitted photo

Eric and Happe

Lindsey Arnette, volunteer coordinator at Blue Bell, says, “Eric was originally hired at Blue Bell two years ago, just to clean for the three weeks Santiago and Maria went on their yearly vacation. He did such a great job that he was asked him to stay, eventually becoming a Staff Caregiver! We have been lucky to have him for one year and 49 weeks longer than was planned!”

He has a busy summer ahead of him, with summer school and an internship with the City of Huntington Beach. And, he will be entering his final year as an engineering major at CSU Long Beach. 

Blue Bell cake

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Submitted photo

Eric at his farewell party

Lindsay says, “He definitely has a lot on his plate. We are going to miss him, but know he has a bright future ahead of him, and we wish him well.”

Evidently, he has a lot of fans, both feline and human, and although we didn’t get any quotes from the cats, others had much to offer.

“Eric found his hidden love for cats after joining the Blue Bell family. He is a happy and kind guy which makes him the purrrfect cat man!” says Kat, a volunteer.

Blue Bell Kat

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Submitted photo

Sally tries to get Kat’s cake 

Blue Bell Board Chairman Susan Hamil says, “Eric has been a great addition to our staff! He admits that he never envisioned himself enjoying caring for and medicating cats as a part time job and enjoying it!” 

“Eric was a pleasure to see at Blue Bell. The way in which he performed his tasks, medicating the kitties, feeding them or cleaning them, you could truly tell he cared. He always had a smile on his face and was kind and respectful to everyone. I am truly going to miss him,” says volunteer Bimali Walgampaya.

Good luck in your new endeavors, Eric. It’s clear you’ll be missed.

Real Talk Laguna Beach presents “Journey to Justice,” May 22

On Wednesday, May 22 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Real Talk Laguna Beach is proud to present a community discussion on the Tahirih Justice Center, titled “Journey to Justice,” at the Susi Q Center.

The Tahirih Justice Center protects courageous women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence by elevating their voices in communities, courts, and Congress by creating a world where “all women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.”

The Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

For more information, visit www.tahirih.org

This is a free event with limited seating. To reserve a seat, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.

Laguna Beach Live! welcomes Danny Melita to Board

Laguna Beach Live! is proud to welcome Danny Melita to the Board. Danny Melita has supported the arts throughout his extensive international business career. In New York he enjoyed being on the board of Dancing in The Streets and The Kitchen. 

While in London, Danny served on the boards of Dance Umbrella and ArtAngel. Since relocating to Laguna Beach, he has been on the RedCat Council, the downtown LA CalArts Theatre, for many years. 

Laguna Beach Danny

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Submitted photo

Danny Melita joins Laguna Beach Live! Board

He is excited to join the LB Live Board to help bring more live music to town, making Laguna Beach a music town. Danny resides with his wife Kristy and their two sons in North Laguna.

Laguna Beach Live! is a nonprofit organization that strives to increase the awareness of and participation in diverse musical experiences, enhancing the reputation of Laguna Beach as a music town. LB Live! presents high-quality live musical performances that are accessible, affordable and intimate in our community. 

Live!’s goal is to continually increase the quality and number of professional live performances in the city throughout the year, especially in the non-summer months, and to offer educational programs to promote the appreciation of music for the enjoyment and education of residents, especially students. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

LB Cowboys win South Orange County Flag Football League 6th Grade Division Championship

Competing against 27 teams, on Friday, May 10, the Laguna Beach Cowboys won the South Orange County Flag Football League 6th Grade Division Championship. 

Coach Tim Towe says, “It has been an absolute honor coaching these players for the last five years. It’s a special group of young men as they understand the value of playing as one unit and supporting each other whether things are going good or bad. We lost one game this season by one point against the top rated team that simply dominated the league this year.”

LB Cowboys team

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Fletcher Liao, Sawyer Thomson, Henry Rounaghi, Charlie Kelly, Preston Towe, Max Gardner, Grant Regal, Jarod Sirsansie, and Charlie Hunt with Coaches Jake Hiemstra and Tim Towe

Coach Towe continues, “When the playoff bracket was announced, our players recognized the possibility of playing this team again in the semi-finals and that was exactly who they wanted to play. They were focused and asked for a special practice to prepare for them – we ended up playing them and it was a battle...0-0 at halftime – the players were so nervous, but the boys stayed positive, stuck to their game plan, and won the game 19-6 and went on to win the Championship. The smiles and feeling of accomplishment on their faces was priceless and that’s really what it is all about!”

Saint Catherine of Siena Parish School presents 16th Annual Masters’ Pageant Show on Friday

In a tribute to Laguna Beach’s heritage, each spring for the past sixteen years, Saint Catherine of Siena Parish School performs a Masters’ Pageant Show and offers a student art exhibit. For one evening, the school by the sea transforms itself into a gallery of live art and talent beyond compare. 

All are invited to join in celebrating the amazing art and creativity of the students and marvel in their recreation of famous paintings. This year’s show takes place on Friday, May 31, with the exhibit opening at 6 p.m. and the curtain call at 7 p.m.

Saint Catherines whips

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Courtesy St. Catherine of Siena

“Snap the Whip” – 2018 pageant

St. Catherine Board Development Chair Kelley Renezeder says, “The artwork is chosen by our art director, Christine Thomas, and based on well-known paintings and artists. All students are welcome to participate and many help build and paint the sets. The best part of the students’ engagement is developing their recognition and love for the arts. This is noted every year when students come back from school break and tell stories of how they were able to recognize famous paintings in museums and monuments because of their involvement in the Masters’ Pageant.” 

Parent volunteers also continue to enrich the lives of students. Their time and talent includes creation of the initial canvas, to lighting, costumes, makeup, and set design. 

Saint Catherines peanuts

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Courtesy St. Catherine of Siena

2018 recreation

Before the Pageant, visitors are welcome to a student art exhibit, showcasing the top artistic talent of the school. The event is free and donations are accepted at the door. Refreshments will be available for purchase. 

Saint Catherine of Siena Parish School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Catholic elementary (TK-8) school. The school offers a faith-based high school preparatory curriculum in a unique small school environment.

Saint Catherines ballet

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Courtesy St. Catherine of Siena

From 2018 pageant – “La Classe de Dance”

Saint Catherine of Siena Parish School is located at 30516 S. Coast Hwy.

Parking is available at the Gelson’s/Wesley parking structure, with complimentary trolley service from 5 to 9 p.m.

VIP Parking available by calling the office at (949) 494-7339.

Winners of 21st Annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest to read at Laguna Beach Library on Saturday

The winners of Laguna Beach Library’s 21st Annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest “Freeestyle” have been chosen. Library Assistant Heather Bradley says, “The judges have finalized their decisions. We have 43 winners in 13 categories! The reading will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 1 at the library. During the event, prizes will be awarded, the published books of the poems will be distributed, and the poets will read their winning poems.”

Winners of John

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Local poet John Gardiner

The contest is named after John Gardiner who was a beloved local poet and former Master of Ceremonies of the program. His good friend and fellow local poet Michael Sprake is the current MC of the annual public reading event. This year’s theme was “Freeestyle.”

Winners of last year

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Submitted photo 

Winners of last year’s contest 

All ages were welcome to enter, and winners in all categories receive prizes of $25 - $100 gift certificates. Applicants submitted up to three original poems.

Traditionally, the winners are invited to a public reading of their poems on the first Saturday in June. The poetry contest is supported by the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

The Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 Glenneyre St.

For more information on the library, go to www.ocpl.org/libloc/lbch or call (949) 497-1733.

St. Catherine of Siena Church carries on tradition of Blessing of Artists Ceremony tonight

This evening at 7 p.m., all are invited to attend a longtime Laguna Beach tradition, a non-denominational prayer service at St. Catherine of Siena Church to bless local artists. This ceremony brings together those in the community who keep alive the reputation of Laguna Beach as a City of Art.

The service recognizes the talents and gifts local artists share with prayer and blessings, especially as we enter our summer of art.

St Catherine palette

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Courtesy of sawdustfestival.org 

Blessing of artists tonight at St. Catherine of Siena Church

An outdoor reception will follow.

The event is sponsored by St. Catherine of Siena Council of Catholic Women. For questions, contact Angela Ordway at (949) 510-6930.

St. Catherine of Siena Church is located at 1042 Temple Terrace. 

Free parking is available.

“Ladies who lunch” raise money for Waymayers youth shelter

The 40 women who make up “Chew for Charity,” a group that raises funds and awareness for nonprofit Waymakers, has been meeting monthly since 2007 and has raised more than $80,000 for Waymakers.

Waymakers provides counseling and support services to struggling OC children and families at their greatest time of need, including at the youth shelter in Laguna Beach. Every contribution collected, lunch organized, and detail buttoned down is all volunteer-driven. 

On May 21, the latest Chew for Charity event was held at Terrace by Mix Mix in South Coast Plaza, and raised $600 for Waymakers. For nearly a decade, the guild has met monthly and has been known to raise up to $12,000 to $15,000 a year for Waymakers. 

Ladies who lunch raise

Submitted photo

Colleen Casciari, Shirlee Heidler, and Elsie Everett gathered for the “Chew for Charity” monthly luncheon on May 21

In addition to regular lunches, guild members also help to sell tickets for Waymakers fundraising events, and advocate on behalf of Waymakers throughout the Orange County community. 

Funds benefit Waymakers and each of its programs. Waymakers’ youth shelter programs represent the largest, short-term shelter system for homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth in Orange County.

Waymakers has youth shelters in Laguna Beach (opened in 1979) and Huntington Beach (opened in 2006), and just last year opened a new shelter in Tustin. These youth shelters are part of Waymakers’ well-vetted Children’s Crisis Residential Program, designed to give youth ages 11-17 a safe alternative to living on the streets while receiving emergency services – including 24-hour supervision, counseling, tutoring and life-skills development – in a home-like and supportive group environment. 

With a total of 24 beds across all three locations, Waymakers serves as a 24-hour family crisis resource to parents and youths residing in Orange County, especially those who do not have the means to seek private help. 

Learn more at www.waymakersoc.org.

Laguna Beach Books to host event with signature chef and cookbook author, Mareya Ibrahim

On Sunday, June 9 at 4 pm, Laguna Beach Books is pleased to welcome Mareya Ibrahim to the store. Mareya will be discussing and signing copies of her new cookbook, Eat Like You Give a Fork. She will provide samples from the cookbook at the event as well.

Mareya Ibrahim, nutritionist, award-winning inventor, and the signature chef and meal plan designer for the bestselling diet book The Daniel Plan, has written her own cookbook, Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive

Laguna Beach Ibrahim

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Courtesy of Mareyaibrahim.com 

Author Mareya Ibrahim will be at LB Books on Sunday, June 9 

According to Mareya, no one should do anything that starts with die. Instead, she invites readers to escape the dreaded diet mentality with a more positive approach to healthy eating. Including eighty forking delicious recipes that support eight essential nutritional strategies, Mareya encourages readers to remake their kitchens, taste buds, bodies, and energy levels with honest and easy-to-understand recipes, including: 

--Zucchini Noodles with Romesco Sauce 

--Low-Sodium Umami Bone Broth 

--You Glow Smoothie 

--No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Mareya’s fun and holistic approach to food will encourage readers to laugh and get serious about their cooking at the same time. The eight essential strategies Mareya bases her recipes on are: Reset Your Taste Buds, Stock Your Real Kitchen, Get Up on Greens, Take a Vegan Fast Break, Go Gluten-Free Super Grains, Fill in with Good Fat, Become Real Dense, and Live the 90/10 Rule. 

With over twenty-five years in the food industry and as the host of the popular Facebook Live show “The Real Dish,” as well as the podcast “Recipes For Your Best Life,” Mareya’s knowledgeable guidance and great palate will make readers rethink the word diet. 

Please note that this is a ticketed event; tickets can be purchased in store or at eatlikeyougiveafork.brownpapertickets.com. They are $30 and include a copy of the book.

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 South Coast Hwy. For more information, visit www.lagunabeachbooks.com.

Dennis’ Tidbits 


June 25, 2019

Summer weather remains a mystery 

Dennis 5What kind of summer are we going to see this time around? To be honest, that’s a tough one to predict. When El Niño is going on, our summers tend to be warmer and sunnier with less marine layer and warmer surface ocean temps. The opposite is generally true when La Niña is present. 

Every summer is different here in Laguna, but our climate is pretty mellow compared to places east of here where they have to deal with high humidity, severe weather, and hurricanes in coastal areas from Texas to Maine. All we have to worry about is what time the morning marine layer will burn off. On a few occasions, June Gloom doesn’t go away once June is over. Sometimes it doesn’t clear up until September – like in 1967, 1973, 1991, and 2010 – which were all La Niña summers.

When El Niño is in the water, you can pretty much count on it being sunnier with less marine layer and warmer ocean temps like in 2015 when temps climbed to 75 degrees and stayed that way for nearly three months. In 1997 the water temp reached 70 degrees by April 5th and didn’t drop below 70 until November 20th, an incredible run. 

That’s not to say that warm water doesn’t occur when there’s no El Niño. It got up to 78 degrees last summer during a neutral year with no El Niño or La Niña. There’s a mild El Niño going on, so we’ll see what happens. 

Local ocean temps are right at normal seasonal levels at 65-68 degrees. Pretty soon June will be history and that gray mantle should ease off by July. Maybe we’ll get a good Baja swell in 2019. There were plenty of storms last year but none of them moved the right way to produce any significant swell action. Stay tuned on that one. No action down there yet.


Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

With the theme of our Pageant this year being The Time Machine, we use our “machine” to remember one of our most famous locals, Bette Davis.

It is well known that actress Bette Davis considered herself a “local,” spending much time here in the 30s, using the beaches and shops as an escape from the Hollywood fast pace. In the early 40s she bought the English Tudor home on Diamond overlooking Woods Cove, unafraid to put her initials on the stucco.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 7 5 19

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Bette Davis, Pageant of the Masters, 1957

She used this home as her primary residence thru much of WWII, and used Laguna Beach as filming locations for Now Voyager and A Stolen Life.

She also appeared in plays at the Playhouse several times in the 40s and 50s.

A trivia question would be, did Bette ever appear in the Pageant? This 1957 photo appears to prove a “yes” answer, but truth is she suffered a last-minute injury, which caused her to withdraw, never attempting another appearance. 

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Artist Robert Wyland’s Whaling Wall comes full circle as it temporarily returns to Hotel Laguna


On Wednesday, a remarkable thing happened. Artist Robert Wyland began repainting his legendary and beloved whale mural on the parking lot wall of Hotel Laguna. Those who lived here in 1996 will remember that the original mural – the first of Wyland’s 100 Whaling Walls around the world – was painted over by the then owner of Hotel Laguna. Although this reincarnation is only temporary, passersby are thrilled to witness its return.

Hasty Honarkar, vice president of Laguna Beach Company, which will restore and operate Hotel Laguna, says, “This whole thing was last minute. It’s all on canvas, which is why it’s temporary. Also, Wyland is using the parking lot as a studio space.” 

As most everyone knows, his “indoor” studio space is next door at Wyland Galleries, which celebrates its 41st anniversary in October. 

Unexpected collaboration

This endeavor is the result of an unexpected and wonderful collaboration between Wyland and Hasty’s father, Laguna Beach Company Founder Mo Honarkar. Laguna Beach Company is a real estate investment and development firm with multiple projects in the works, including the upcoming renovation of Hotel Laguna. It also operates all the buildings/physical structures between Laguna Avenue and Legion except for Wyland’s gallery. (Laguna Creative Ventures (LCV) is the creative arm of the Laguna Beach Company.)

Hasty says, “It’s refreshing to know that they’ve developed a friendship. They’ve gone out a couple of times together and gotten drinks. Wyland has another idea he’d like to do, with the help of kids, when the Hotel Laguna is under construction. He really cares about introducing art to kids.

“Both my father and I are amazed at what Wyland has done with art to help educate the community and around the world. We support Wyland’s longtime wish to temporarily re-create his original Whaling Wall mural adjacent to Hotel Laguna while we start our submittal process for the much anticipated Restoration Project. We admire not only his art but also the work his foundation does using art to encourage environmental awareness.” 

Artist Robert foundation

Courtesy of Wyland Foundation

Original Whaling Wall 

Since the establishment of the Wyland Foundation in 1993, Wyland has inspired millions of people worldwide about marine life conservation thanks to his life-sized paintings and images ranging from the sides of sports arenas and cruise ships to installations at the US National Mall in Washington, D.C.

A multi-faceted artist, scuba diver, author, educator, and explorer, Wyland has hosted several television programs, including “Wyland’s Ocean World” series on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet Network, “Wyland: A Brush With Giants” and “Wyland’s Art Studio,” his acclaimed series for national public 


Hasty says, “Wyland is the driving force behind this, it was his idea to move forward to bring it back, and we are all excited about it. We were happy to provide the space. He is an exceptional character in Laguna Beach. We wanted to work with him to come back full circle.”

A passion for conservation

Wyland’s mission of engaging people through nature-themed art and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has touched hearts and minds and led to strategic alliances with the United States Olympic Team, United Nation Environment Program, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service, and Toyota, to name a few.

Every year, between October 1 and December 1, the Wyland National Art Challenge encourages thousands of students across the nation to think about the many conservation issues facing people around the world and interpret them through art. Students can choose to work collaboratively on mural projects or create individual works of art and earn a chance to win classroom prizes and scholarships. The Foundation’s hope is that, “the process of interpreting their relationship to the natural world through art will lead students to a greater understanding of their role as future caretakers of our water resources.”

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Photo by Eric Rankin

Wyland at work on Monday, July 15

On Thursday, Wyland – who divides his time among Hawaii’s North Shore, the Florida Keys, and Laguna – said, “It was 38 years ago on my birthday, July 9, that we dedicated the first of my 100 Whaling Wall murals right here in Laguna Beach. So a few years later, they actually whitewashed it, and I was able to make a tile mural of the Whaling Wall. But right now I have a chance to recreate it for the City of Laguna Beach and all the people who loved the Whaling Wall. I want to thank Mo [Honarkar], the owner of the Hotel Laguna, who is developing an incredible restored hotel, for allowing me to recreate the original Whaling Wall on canvas. This is for our great community and I’m really proud to present this.”

A battle lost

Although Wyland fought hard to keep the original mural, according to publicartinpublicspaces.com, the fate of the mural was threatened in 1996 by the Hotel Laguna’s then owner, who considered it an eyesore and planned to paint over it. After unsuccessful petitions to the Laguna Beach City Council to protect the mural, Wyland purchased what he mistakenly believed was the mural’s underlying property in order to safeguard the mural and build a studio and gallery. Unfortunately, during the gallery’s construction the upper portion of the mural was destroyed. In September 1996, to the artist’s and much of the public’s dismay, the hotel owner had the remaining mural painted over. Wyland then created the current two-wall ceramic tile revision of the earlier mural on the north sides of his Laguna Beach studio and gallery. 

Artist Robert parking lot

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Hotel Laguna parking lot 

In this fortuitous turn of events, the Whaling Wall appears to truly have come full circle, however, where will the canvas mural go after its temporary location?

According to Hasty, “Wyland has plans to place it somewhere. It’s a step-by-step process. How we move forward depends on the construction timeline. He’ll be working on it through August. He wants everyone to be part of it.”

Wyland admits there was no way to keep the project under wraps. “I wasn’t going to tell people but I’m going to be working on it through mid-August and then we’re going to have an official dedication ceremony and invite the mayor, of course, Bob Whalen and the City Council, and everyone is invited. If you’re driving by on PCH, beep your horn and say hello or come into the Wyland Gallery and check out my newest art and lean over the wall. It’s a great view of the painting. I’m here painting, so it was starting to leak out.”

Future plans

As to whether or not there will be future collaborations between her father and Wyland, Hasty says, “I know my dad has talked to him about once the projects are complete, working with him on other opportunities, along with some other artists. This was a great way for him to begin and then from there, we’ll start the conversation.”

Honarkar concurs. “I have truly enjoyed getting to know Robert Wyland over the past few months and am proud to now call him my friend. I look forward to continuing to work with him and support his vision within our community.”

So if you see Wyland painting at Hotel Laguna, stop by and say, “hello.” 

For more information on the Wyland Gallery, go to www.wylandgallery.com.

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

With the nation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, it is a good time to revisit Laguna Beach’s own rock festival that took place the following year. It was known as “the Happening,” or also called the “Christmas Happening” since it occurred December 25-28, 1970.

Local resident Beth Leeds, along with other counter-culture organizers of the day, planned to set up a West Coast version of Woodstock, complete with superstar performers. The city, looking at thousands of hippies invading Main Beach, moved the festival out to a three-acre parcel in Sycamore Flats in the Canyon.

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“The Happening” in 1970

The superstar rock acts did not materialize, but over 25,000 long-haired, free-spirited youth did show up to enjoy freedom...free food, free camping, free love, and of course free music.

In the first photo above, an unidentified act plays to the large crowd that settled in the Canyon, with buses and campsites seen in the background, including the obligatory VW bus.

In the second photo, a Woodstock-esque hippie family soaks in the December sun outside their tent, their daughter enjoying her morning bottle.

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Family enjoys “the Happening” in Laguna Canyon in 1970

The event was peaceful, but the police were unconvinced, and blocked entry into the Canyon, creating a line of hippie hikers that walked miles to get to the Flats. One youth actually parachuted in, and the local LSD dispensing group flew a small plane over the site to drop hundreds of postcards affixed with LSD.

After the third day, local police borrowed 400 officers from neighboring towns, sealed off the Canyon, cordoned off the site, and removed all the attendees. Using bulldozers and even a tank, they pushed everything including a few cars into a large trench, and burned all proof that the Happening ever – well – happened.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org.

Mediterrania closes, another door opens

By Diane Armitage

This week in Laguna, our restaurant community suffered another casualty. The new Mediterrania restaurant (also called MG Laguna) closed its doors unexpectedly.

Mediterrania Owner Mohamed Mamoun opened his first Mediterranean restaurant in Irvine in 2013 (Mediterrania Grill) and expanded to Laguna Beach in January of this year. His restaurant took the place of the property owner’s Old House Garden Café, which had enjoyed significant renovations in kitchen and interior from the former, longtime favorite restaurant Madison Square & Garden Cafe. (Following all this?)

Mediterrania closes building

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Mediterrania closes its doors

Despite a beautifully updated kitchen, Mohamed’s plucky, friendly spirit, and decidedly good food, Mediterrania’s breakfast, lunch, and early dinner offerings struggled against its popular neighbor, Urth Caffé.

The owner of the property, Liang Fang, could not yet be reached for comment. An employee in contact with Mr. Fang says that he is considering a re-branding of the space with a new restaurant concept under his own management. Stay tuned for more details!

The many faces of summer

Photos by Scott Brashier

The many crowd

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Summer street corner 

The many traffic

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Day softens into night as cars struggle to get where they’re going

The many sunset

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The dramatic sunset makes it all worthwhile

No more free trolley rides to hillside neighborhoods


The City Council unanimously voted to discontinue the extended hours of weekend trolley service to Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon, and Arch Beach Heights, but might bring it back for Festival season.

City Manger John Pietig said he had no choice but to recommend eliminating the service, due to lack of riders and advised the council that the “Little Blue Buses” on the Main Line service are also suffering.

Staff recommended the extended hours be discontinued by September 30, when the Orange County Transportation Authority eliminates its funding for the service because of the low ridership. 

It wasn’t a popular decision with some residents who attended the September 17 council meeting.

“I love the trolleys,” said Lorna Cohen. “My husband takes it every day.”

She also noted that the trolleys reduce the number car trips down the hill, which reduces emissions into the environment.

“We used the trolley four times last weekend,” said TOW resident Carole Reagan. “This whole system is a godsend for kids who don’t all live in a $5 million house.”

Reagan was referring to a comment made by Councilman Peter Blake who said the city should stop giving kids living in mansions a free ride that is costing the city money.

Top the World resident Gary Schwager said if his neighborhood knew that ridership was a problem they would have done something. He did not specify the something.

Other speakers said low ridership might be attributed to the difficulty determining the schedule said Johanna Felder, whose home is near one of trolley stops. 

“We would take it if we ever knew when it was coming,” Felder said.

Mayor Bob Whalen expressed dissatisfaction with the app that is supposed to inform riders where the trolley is and about how long they will have to wait before it reaches them. 

Whalen also said his proposed four-month restoration of the service in 2020 was subject to ridership.

“If ridership doesn’t increase enough to get the Project V grant – then it’s over,” said Whalen.

The council also approved the staff proposal to reimburse OCTA for the $130,000 grant with which the city purchased a new trolley for the service. The trolley will be used during Festival season, paid for out of the Vehicle Replacement Fund.

South Laguna residents, who objected to a short-lived trolley route up Third Street to Scenic and down Fifth Street, were informed at the meeting that the service has been rerouted.

U.S. Secretary of Education names El Morro Elementary School 2019 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education announced this week that El Morro Elementary School is among the 362 schools recognized nationwide as 2019 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools award honorees. El Morro is one of thirty schools from California to be recognized. 

Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

“We are excited and honored to be recognized as an Exemplary High Performing National Blue Ribbon School. It validates the hard work and care that the El Morro staff provides for our students,” said El Morro Elementary School Principal Chris Duddy. “There is a lot of hard work done on behalf of our students each and every day. This recognition confirms that we are doing the right things,” he concluded.

US Secretary El Morro Duddy

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El Morro Elementary has been named a Blue Ribbon School; seen here, Principal Chris Duddy with students

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, schools demonstrating that all students can achieve high levels. More than 9,000 schools across the country have been presented with this award.

“Our district mission is to ensure that each student gains the skills to become lifelong learners in a competitive and interconnected world,” said Dr. Jason Viloria, Superintendent of Schools. “We focus on a strength-based approach to teaching that builds resiliency and prepares students to thrive despite the hardships they may face. Students, teachers, staff, and families are immersed in a strengths culture with a common language that supports students in the realization of their full potential. I’d like to congratulate our team at El Morro on this outstanding recognition of their hard work,” he concluded.

The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. 

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates:

--Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

--Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. 

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. on November 14 and 15.

October orb

October orb pale

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Pale moon in a dark purple sky

Fall off the horizon

Fall off gray water

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Photo by Scott Brashier

When you stand at the water’s edge and look out over the ocean, how far away is the horizon? The distance to the horizon depends on the height of your eyes above the water. If your eyes are 8 inches (20 cm) above the water, the distance of the horizon is about one mile (1.6 km) away.

Where’s Maggi – the answers!

This spot is a little hidden away, but several Stu News readers knew where to find it – around the back of the Orange Inn.

Kathryn Bienvenu knew, as did Anthony Pica, and Janelle Naess (“One of my favs! Gourley – artist.”). Thanks for checking in! 

Look for the next challenge coming up on Friday.    

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Gourley painting at Orange Inn

Laguna Beach to celebrate Arbor Day on March 12


The City Council on Tuesday proclaimed March 12, 2020 as Arbor Day in Laguna Beach and approved an application for Tree City USA recertification.

Laguna first celebrated Arbor Day in 2018. The city was recognized as a first year Tree City USA community that year when it met the four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department responsible for tree care, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and holding an observance of Arbor Day and a proclamation.

Tree City USA communities must apply for recertification annually.

Laguna Beach tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s beautiful trees stand out along the streets of downtown

Renewing Laguna’s status as a Tree City USA demonstrates the city’s commitment to maintaining a healthy urban forest and promotes the benefits that trees provide to residents, businesses, and visitors, according to the city staff.

Celebrating Arbor Day and becoming a Tree City USA community recognizes the value of the urban forest and trees in Laguna and demonstrates their importance to our neighborhoods parks, streets, and open space, staff reported.

Laguna’s Arbor Day celebration is free. The location and time of the celebration is being selected in collaboration with Barbara MacGillivray, founder of the Laguna Beach Urban Tree Fund. 

Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 by the planting of more than a million trees. 

It is now an international observation.

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi had a little pause on this bench. Where was she?

Send your answers in 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.

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Ocean hierarchy

Ocean hierarchy wave

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The sea’s pecking order: sand, foam, wave

Dennis’ Tidbits


February 7, 2020

Blue Santana 

Dennis 5On February 9th, 56 years ago, a British band called the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and it instantly changed music for a long time to come. That magical night was the beginning of the British Invasion. To this day, they’re still my favorite musical group of all time. They opened the floodgates for countless new bands; all of them were extremely talented with their own distinct styles and Ed was so cool he had most of them on his Sunday night show on CBS at some point over those few years in the 1960s. 

I remember that night like it was yesterday. I was 16 at the time and was already into rock music big time. I remember seeing Elvis on Ed Sullivan when I was only 8 years old and he, too, would change the face of rock ‘n roll. Today’s so-called hip hop can’t even hold a candle to what was going on back then. I was so blessed to be part of that era!

Here in Laguna and the rest of Southern California, we just had an event called a Blue Santana. It has all the properties of a Santana, but it’s way colder. It still comes roaring out of the northeast and is extremely dry, but temps plunge into the 50s instead of the more typical 70s and 80s found during a normal Santana event. Nights are colder during a Blue Santana, especially in wind sheltered areas. Skies are still clear and generally cloudless just like a regular event. The air still heats by compression as the winds blow from the high country in Utah, but the source of these winds was a strong 30.65 high over southern Utah. Temps were in the teens and 20s there, so even with the heating by compression at five degrees per thousand feet, it wasn’t that much warmer even at water’s edge down here.

Time for some more weather terms:

Glaze: A coating of ice, generally clear and smooth, formed by freezing of supercooled water on a surface. Also known as black ice which is extremely dangerous on road surfaces.

Haboob: Sounds naughty but the term originated in the Middle East. A haboob is a dust or sand storm, caused either by the downdraft of a desert thunderstorm and lasting minutes, or by a larger (generally late) winter or early spring cyclone in the southwestern United States and lasting for hours. Also found in places like Sudan most months of the year.

Hail: A form of precipitation composed of balls or irregular lumps of ice, always produced by convective clouds, which are nearly always cumulonimbus (thunderstorm clouds). The more severe the storm, the larger the hail is the general rule. Hail in size can range anywhere from pea size to softball size or even larger on occasions. Their size depends on how many times they’ve been caught in an updraft. In stronger storms, the updraft will enable additional layers on the lump of ice, and when the surrounding air can no longer support the weight of a huge stone, that stone will finally fall to earth, sometimes at the speed of 100 mph or more. 

I’ve witnessed baseball size hail in the Texas Panhandle. Hail that size requires an updraft near 100 mph. The largest hail stone ever documented was over eight inches in diameter (like a soccer ball) and weighed 2.8 pounds! It landed in an open field on a farm in Nebraska and put a 12-inch wide by six-inch deep crater in the ground. The top of that particular cumulonimbus cloud was nearly 60,000 ft. high! That cloud also produced six separate tornadoes, two of them reaching EF-4 intensity with winds up to 185 mph. Personally that kind of weather gives me a rush beyond belief!

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Local surf legend Ron Sizemore creates symbiotic relationship with exotic creature

Local surf legend and lifelong resident of South Laguna Ron Sizemore caught a chameleon in his yard in November. They quickly became friends, showing how exotic our local ecosystem is and the symbiotic relationship it has with our local residents!

Sizemore’s name may sound very familiar. Sizemore made a name for himself in Laguna and other locations, pushing the limits of surfing on a local level and occasionally testing the waters at big-name events. 

In 1961, Sizemore won the U.S. West Coast Surfing Championship by shooting the pilings of the Huntington Pier…backwards – a feat aired nationwide on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Local surf chameleon

Submitted photo

Ron Sizemore and a Jackson’s Chameleon, Trioceros Jacksonii, an alien species that has been introduced into California

On July 1, 2009, the Laguna Beach surfing community gave Sizemore the recognition he deserved for his contributions to the local surf scene. When it comes to the annual Brooks Street Surfing Classic, one would be hard pressed not to acknowledge the influence of Ron Sizemore.

Sizemore became a legend at Brooks Street for his critical take-offs, cunning competitiveness, and long, deep-pocket rides all the way to Oak Street.

To express their gratitude for Sizemore’s contributions to surfing, the Brooks Street Surfing Association presented him with the last of a limited edition framed original print of the 2005 Brooks Street Surfing Contest poster art, signed by its creator and local surf artist Wolfgang Bloch.

Skipper sculpture to be installed


Construction can begin on the site approved by the Planning and Arts Commissions for the location of the life-sized sculpture of Skipper Carrillo created by Laguna Beach artist Randy Morgan.

The building permit was issued Wednesday for the construction of a retaining wall and base to support the sculpture, which is being installed on Glenneyre Street, opposite the Laguna Beach Library. The unveiling will be held in the next three to four weeks, the date to be announced, according to Morgan. 

“I am so proud of all the people who stepped up for Skipper,” said Morgan. “Everything was donated. It was a total community effort.”

Skipper carillo skipper

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Skipper Carillo in his “dugout”

Longtime Laguna Beach dentist Mark Judy and Diane Riegler donated the site on property they own. Ryan Singer, son of the late architect Mark Singer, donated his architectural services for the project, which will be built by Bob Roper, who got all the approvals and also is donating his services. 

Morgan said he made only one stipulation about the location.

“If the sculpture ever has to be moved, the new location should also include the plaque which tells Skipper’s story,” Morgan said.

The sculpture is currently on display at the Forest and Ocean Gallery owned by Ludo Leideritz, who is also director of the Skipper Carrillo Fund for the maintenance of the sculpture.

Folks will also have an opportunity to see the sculpture on March 7, Morgan said. 

 It will be featured in the Patriots Day Parade on the first Saturday in March, barring another rainout, along with the original Skipper, Morgan, and a group of folks who made the project a reality.

Sea Breeze

Sea Breeze statue

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Photo by Craig Brashier

Sculptor of “Sea Breeze” Sukhdev Dail says, “She is a mythical spirit who emerges from the sea, happy and graceful.” At dusk, she watches the ocean from the steps just north of Main Beach.

Barbara’s Column

Thank you, Elisabeth


Laguna Greenbelt members and admirers of Elisabeth Brown gathered last Friday to show their appreciation for all she has accomplished during her long presidency, now ending.

“Elisabeth will concentrate on scientific aspects rather than dealing with the day-to-day stresses of running an organization,” said interim President Norm Grossman, one of Brown’s closest cohorts. “It is surprising how much effort it is to replace her. It will take the whole board.”

Brown is a biologist, an environmental consultant, science writer, and author of local field guides. She has a doctorate in biology and a master’s degree in zoology. 

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The remarkable Elisabeth Brown

The gathering at Neighborhood Congregational Church was a paean to Brown and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the group’s founding by James Dilley. She was presented with proclamations from Congressman Harley Rouda, California Assembly member Cottie Petrie-Norris, who was represented by Councilwoman Toni Iseman, and Sergio Prince on behalf of Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who was in Washington D.C.

“So I am here and I’m happy about it,” said Prince. “I met Elisabeth when we were fighting against the El Toro Airport. [She] showed the way.”

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow represented the City. 

“You are an inspirational leader,” said Dicterow. “Everyone in this room has been inspired by you. I am honored to express the City’s gratitude to you for all you’ve done.”

Greenbelt Board member Ron Chilcote reminisced about the early days of the Greenbelt.

“Elisabeth and I were drawn to Dilley,” said Chilcote, a retired professor, photographer, and author. “We learned that we had to preserve the Greenbelt. It fit with Liz’s experience on the Planning Commission.” 

Brown served on the commission from 1982 to 1988. That is where Mary Fegreus met Brown, the start of a long and productive collaboration on behalf of the environment. 

“She asked me to attend a Greenbelt meeting,” recalled Fegraus. “Then she asked me to be on the board. We worked together on the acquisition of the Laguna Laurel property in the canyon.”

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Councilmember Toni Iseman celebrates Elisabeth Brown

The decision of Laguna’s voters to tax themselves for the down payment on that property was a major step in the preservation of the open space that girdles Laguna Beach. 

Fegraus was later appointed executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation. Subsequently, she followed Brown as chair of the Coastal Greenbelt Authority – there have been only two since it was created in 1991 to manage acreage in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Village Laguna and former Greenbelt Board member Johanna Felder presented Brown with an engraved paperweight in appreciation for her years of dedication to Laguna’s Greenbelt.

“For almost a decade, I served on the Laguna Greenbelt Board and I know how crucial Elisabeth’s leadership has been for our community and our environment,” said Felder.

Canyon Alliance of Neighborhood Defense Organization representative John Hamil commended Brown for her efforts to preserve the way of life for residents in the canyon, where she once made her home. 

Other speakers included Ellen Beck from Newport Beach, historian Eric Jessen, Patty Ostand, Top of the World Neighborhood Association Board member Gene Felder, Michael Phillips, who worked for Brown in 1990, and landscape architects Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick.

“She has been a role model and no one is more respected,” said Borthwick. Scott Thomas credited Brown for creating the Red Hats, a group that got people out into the open space.

“We were docents and tour guides,” said Marv Johnson. “We talked about nature. We were close to being naturalists by the time we finished our training, which Elisabeth organized.

“But her hat is pink now, from all the time she has spent in the sun.”

Brown was given a standing ovation when she went to the podium.

“Thank you for coming out,” said Brown. “It’s a little weird. I did a lot of the stuff [for which I am being honored] but I didn’t do it alone. With an organization like the Greenbelt, it is possible to do anything, I am not leaving. I am just going to pick and choose what I want to do.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Elisabeth Brown has had an enormous impact on the preservation of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Just reading the list of her activities and accomplishments is exhausting. No wonder Grossman said it will be a daunting task to fill her shoes.

Her experience as president of Laguna Greenbelt Inc. included, but was not limited to, spending hours in courtrooms; reviewing and responding to environmental impact reports and other planning documents; extensive participation in public hearings and testifying before local, regional, and state agencies and working with their staff; tracking projects though the public hearing process; coordinating with other citizen groups; developing and presenting position papers; producing the Greenbelt newsletter; presenting slideshows and talks to community and business groups; public education about local natural history; fundraising; grant writing; bookkeeping and IRS reporting for the 501(c)(3) organization.

In 1991, Greenbelt Inc. received a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy to prepare a restoration/rehabilitation plan for the three Laguna Lakes – actually only two lakes: one of them had been divided by Laguna Canyon Road, which was eventually rerouted. Brown was on the committee and performed the water sampling called for in the grant. The plan produced by the committee was approved and the project completed.

The docent program, begun in 1992, was preceded by an interpretive program Brown created for the James Dilley Preserve. The one-and-half mile nature trail through the preserve opened in 1988. A second trail led to Barbara’s Lake, named for the late Barbara Stuart, a generous donor to environmental efforts.

Brown wrote the grant application in 1993 to the World Wildlife Fund, assembled the materials, wrote most of the content for the brochures that addressed such issues as coping with wildlife and fire-safe landscaping for folks living on the edge of the open space. In 1993!

She also wrote the brochure for the Nature Reserve of Orange County. 

In her spare time, Brown has studied the Pandora moth egg parasite, the hatching behavior of quail, and the respiration of neurulating amphibian eggs – such fun!

She has served as regional vice president of the Planning and Conservation League and vice president of the Laguna Canyon Foundation. She is a member of the Nature Reserve of Orange County board, has taught part-time at Saddleback College, and written a newspaper column – not to mention being president of Laguna Greenbelt Inc. since 1985.

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A few of Elisabeth Brown’s remarkable achievements

Brown has also lectured on physical science at UC Irvine from 2000 to 2005; on social ecology at UCI in 1976, ‘78 and ‘79; and on environmental biology at Rio Hondo and Cypress colleges.

Brown coordinated the California Science Project UCI. She is a member of the Orange County Natural History Museum.

She chaired the Laguna Beach Unified School District Science-Math Task Force from 1983 to 1986, and the Laguna Beach Coastal Plan Task Force in 1981. She was a member of the City’s General Plan Revision Committee and a judge of county and state science fairs.

The 20,000 acres of open space that surround Laguna Beach help define the city as unique, thanks in great part to the leadership of Elisabeth Brown.

Anyone who would like honor her myriad contributions to Laguna Beach and the environment could do so by donating funds to Laguna Greenbelt Inc. for its ongoing and expensive efforts to create a wildlife corridor from the Cleveland National Forest to the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, essential to protect the wildlife that is dwindling and weakening due to interbreeding, because they are confined in separate areas. 

For more information, call (949) 499-1142 or mail a check to PO Box 860, Laguna Beach, CA 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. Contributions are welcomed.

2020 City Election: Two file intent to run for City Clerk


One former and one current city employee are the first candidates to announce for the 2020 city election.

Mariann Tracy, a city employee for seven years, and Ann Marie McKay, who worked for the city for 10 years, have filed their intent to run for the job held for eight years by Lisette Chel-Walker. The next official step for candidates for all city elective offices will be filing nomination papers, not available until July.

Tracy, who had not previously announced her candidacy, made it public wearing a T-shirt with the wording “Tracy for LB City Clerk 2020,” while helping out Sande St. John at the Patriots Day Parade Reviewing Stand.

A resident of the city for 31 years and a city employee since 2013, Tracy has experience in the city’s Public Works and Community Services Department and for the late two years as administrative assistant to City Manager John Pietig.

2020 City Election Mariann Tracy

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Mariann Tracy, seen here with her family, announces candidacy for City Clerk position

“I was urged to run by three members of the City Council, former Mayor Kelly Boyd, Laguna Beach Seniors past President Chris Quilter, and others,” said Tracy.

Chel-Walker said Tracy is qualified for the job.

Boyd based his support on Tracy’s record with the city.

“She works very hard, is a quick learner, and is familiar with the city as an employee in her current role as executive assistant to the City Manager,” said Boyd.” Mariann will be an asset to the office of City Clerk.”

She was also commended by Quilter.

“Mariann did an outstanding job as our first program director at the Susi Q,” said Quilter. “She is all those things I want in public servant.”

Tracy has already begun training in the California Professional Municipal Clerk certification program at UC Riverside. The program is endorsed by the City Clerks Association of California, an affiliate of the League of California Cities.

She is running under the banner “Tracy is a name you can trust.” 

McKay served in the U.S. Air Force, with the ranking of captain, before taking a job with the city. As administrative assistant to the Community Development Department, McKay participated in public meetings, which she believes gives her an understanding of community issues and respect for the diverse viewpoints that make Laguna Beach unique.

2020 City Election Ann Marie McKay

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Ann Marie McKay will run for City Clerk position

She left city employ in 2017, partly because she did not feel she was able to effectively use her knowledge and talents to take the actions she believed were necessary to improve how the City was functions.

McKay cites her knowledge of city-specific technology as an asset. She is a notary public, one of the services offered by the City Clerk’s office. The clerk is also empowered to perform wedding ceremonies.

“The city clerk must be autonomous,” according to McKay, who said she is active in the community, but is not a member of any group or currently employed by the city.

McKay is a volunteer for the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter and president of Protecting Unwanted Pets (PUP of Laguna Beach), founded by volunteers in 1975 as the Pet Responsibility Committee. 

In January, she spoke at a City Council meeting calling attention to what she described as a misappropriation of Animal Shelter funds. McKay said during public communication that more than $10,000 of shelter funds were used to relocate personnel from trailers in the back of City Hall into the shelter facility. She said the funds should not have been used for this purpose, and she requested that the City Council direct the City Manager to replace the funds and direct the Chief of Police to not use donation funds for routine operations.

Her motto is “Let my experience work for you.”

County to release COVID-19 cases by city today


The County of Orange on Wednesday announced that it will begin releasing additional COVID-19 data beginning today (Friday, March 27), including case counts by city, as urgently requested by local jurisdictions.

The county has also closed the parking lots at all county beaches, trails, and parks, as proposed by Supervisor Lisa Bartlett at the March 24 meeting. Laguna Beach, which is in Bartlett’s fifth district, had on March 23 closed all city beaches, parks, and playgrounds. 

“The City of Laguna Beach sincerely thanks Supervisor Lisa Bartlett for her efforts to ensure closure of parking lots and narrow pedestrian access points connected to our county beaches and parks to protect the public,” said Mayor Bob Whalen. “These closures would not have happened without her leadership on this issue. Closing these access points will lessen overcrowded conditions on our county beaches and trails and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

County to roads

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pacific Coast Hwy almost vacant

The county announced on Thursday that the Health Care Agency had observed as of that day 256 cases of the virus in the county, an increase of 69 cases since the previous day. 

Representatives also confirmed, sadly, the first death in Orange County due to COVID-19, a 70-year-old man with underlying health conditions.

“An increase in reported cases is one of the factors of increased testing,” said County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick. “This serves as a reminder of the importance of staying at home and social distancing when leaving the household for essential activities, or to work at an essential business. It is our responsibility to help protect the community and work together to flatten the curve in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

County to beach

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Beaches closed 

Locations affected by the county closure included the parking lots at Aliso Beach and the pedestrian stairs to Thousand Steps, West Street, and Treasure Island beaches, Table Rock, and Camel Point in South Laguna. 

County parking lots at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Nix Nature Center, the James Dilley Reserve, Willow, and Big Bend are closed. 

Restrooms, playgrounds, exercise equipment, and shelters at all county parks and beaches are also closed. 

Prior to the county closures, Laguna Beach officials had closed Main Beach, Heisler, Crescent Bay, and Treasure Island parks and area trailheads. All city basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts are closed.

COVID-19 testing

Hoag Medical Group – 364 Ocean Ave, Laguna Beach

Testing is being conducted for those with symptoms such as a cough for two days and only by appointment. 

For more information, call (949) 557-0610.

County to Hoag

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Hoag is testing those with symptoms such as a cough for two days and only by appointment

Caduceus Medical Group – 333 Thalia St, Laguna Beach

Testing is being conducted for those presenting symptoms.

For more information, call (949) 499-0577.

The facility closes at 6 p.m.

Mission Hospital – 31872 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach

For more information, call the COVID-19 hotline at (949) 364-1400, ext. 1775.    

County Resources – Anyone experiencing worry or anxiety is urged to contact (855) 625-4657 or visit www.ochealthinfo.com/oclinks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to talk or chat with a trained, clinical navigator.

Medical questions about COVID-19 should be called in to the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448.

Orange County residents are also encouraged to visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus and follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).

Contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085 with non-medical questions.

Where the wild things are: Laguna Safari takes locals on an animal adventure extraordinaire


Last Thursday, adventurous tourists participated in the Laguna Safari, a wondrous trek through our streets to spot the wild and wooly inhabitants of Laguna. Organized by Game Warden Suparna Salil, the excursion attracted animal lovers, young and old, while still respecting social distancing (from the animals and each other). 

Suparna says, “I was on the lookout for something safe to do that would make people smile, especially kids, during this uncertain time. I saw a friend of mine in Australia post on social media about a teddy bear hunt and thought it would fun to replicate here in Laguna.” 

However, a teddy bear hunt sounds tame compared to the sometimes ferocious creatures on this quest.

Where the Saparna

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Suparna Salil, game warden, and her husband, Alan Boyles

“I thought of a safari because it has the concept built in of people staying in their vehicles and viewing wildlife from a distance, so it seemed to comply with the physical distancing guidelines we’d been asked to follow,” says Suparna. “I posted the idea on Nextdoor to see if there was interest and also so I could get feedback on the plan.

“As interest ballooned, I put the map together and my husband, Alan Boyles, helped add to the map. We’d work on the map in between work meetings.”

Positioned by their wildlife wranglers, the animals were visible from the safari path (street). 

Then, safely secured in their safari vehicles with Google maps showing locations of the animals – to make it easy, participants clicked on a location button, and it showed what they should be on the lookout for – all could enjoy the wildlife from afar.

Where the giraffe

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Wildlife sighting

Suparna says, “Going into the safari, I was already overjoyed by the number of people who had put out animals or displays – we had about 80 spots on the maps.” 

Zeda Stone, father to Sterling and Lottie, and husband to Lea, enjoyed the jungle expedition with his family. “Sterling said, ‘this is so much fun Daddy! I’ve never gone on a safari before.’ He’s three…it was a everything to a little boy whose been missing friends and the freedom to go to the bookstore, amongst his most favorite outings. We are incredibly thankful for everyone that put this together and those who participated. This community always shines, and we are so lucky to be here.”

Where the Grady

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Grady Rahall anticipates his adventure

 In preparation, Rylie and Grady Rahall made binoculars especially for this. The giraffe setup was their driveway on Noria Street in Arch Beach Heights. Rylie and Grady love giraffes and books!

Their mom Erica Rahall said, “The Laguna Safari was so much fun! I was so grateful to have something on the calendar, and we looked forward to it all day!”

Where the Rylie

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Rylie Rahall with her homemade binoculars

 Meredith McMahon, who participated with her husband and son Rowan, said, “On Thursday night we went on an adventure, Laguna Beach Safari! Neighbors all over town put stuffed animals in their windows, driveways, atop their cars, hidden in trees...for participants to find. 

 “The simple and sincere joy my son (three-and-a-half years old) and I had playing ‘I spy’ around our wonderfully supportive, quirky, and loving town was exactly what we were longing for. Some neighbors, or rather zoo keepers, waved as we drove by. (We safely practiced social distancing by staying in our car.) It felt as if there was a collective sigh of relief for the welcomed distraction and opportunity for all ages to act like kids.”

Where the tiger

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tiger surveys the sightseers from atop a car

Suparna says, “I was blown away by the community response. It was so much fun seeing pictures of people’s cute animals, statues, paintings – some folks really went all out in their displays.

“And then I was overwhelmed by the number of people who went out and enjoyed the safari. It was so heartwarming hearing from both families (‘my son thought it was epic!’) and folks who put out animals (‘it was lovely hearing laughs all day and kids saying, look mommy there’s the bear’).

“So thankful to live in this great community that’s active and engaged and eager to come together at a time like this.”

Pathway to heaven

Pathway to moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Follow the light

State approves Orange County’s Variance to move into next phase of Stage 2 reopening

On Saturday the County’s Variance Attestation was approved by the State of California paving the way for the County to accelerate through the latter phase of Stage 2 of the State’s Resilience Roadmap immediately.

The following business sectors can move into the next step of the reopening process effective immediately, with the proper safety protocols in place:


--All in-person dining and outdoor patio seating must be spaced to ensure six-foot physical distancing requirements are met at all times.

--Face coverings must be worn by all patrons at all times when not eating or drinking.

--Bars are not allowed to be open at this time.

Other Business Sectors:

--Retail shopping with social distancing including at malls and outlet center, plus curbside pickup

--Manufacturing (visit State of California website for details)

--Offices (when telework not possible)

--Limited Personal Services (visit State website for details)

State approves 1

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The State of California has approved Orange County’s Variance to move into the next state of Stage 2 reopening

“Laguna Beach businesses must follow all State and County guidance to create a safe environment for their employees and patrons,” stated the City in a Community Release today.

Click here for County by County guidance.

Phase 3 businesses may not open. These businesses include, but are not limited to:

--Personal services such as hair and nail salons, gyms, and fitness facilities

--Hospitality services, such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms, and lounges

--Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming and arcade venues, pro sports, and libraries

--Community centers, public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas

--Theme parks

Click here for current reopening guidelines for Laguna Beach businesses.

The Orange County Health Officer today issued a new Health Officer’s Order and additional strong recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County as more businesses move toward reopening.

Click here to read the order.

Additional State guidance for restaurants and retailers is provided at the following links:


--Click here for State Guidance for dine-in restaurants

--Click here for State Checklist for dine-in restaurants


--Click here for State Guidance for retailers

--Click here for State Checklist for retailers

State approves 2

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Surf & Sport

Prior to reopening, all restaurants and businesses must complete the following process per the California Department of Public Health:

--Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan

--Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them

--Implement individual control measures and screenings

--Implement disinfecting protocols

--Implement physical distancing guidelines

Click here for statewide industry guidance to reduce risk of COVID-19.

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi says she often walks by this mosaic. Have you seen it?

Send your “where” answers in 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.

Where's Maggi 5 29 20

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Catalina is calling

Catalina is trees

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Catalina looks so close that you could reach out and touch it

Family and friends rally round local Nancy Epstein as she goes through cancer treatment


A little over a month ago, when local Nancy Epstein was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Laguna native Emily Van Hanswyk knew she had to jump into action. 

Nancy’s daughter Katharine and Emily have been best friends since fourth grade, and Emily wanted to support Nancy – and her family – by showing her how much she is loved and cherished by her friends and the community. 

Emily’s reaction was to create a GoFundMe page for Nancy. “Nancy has lived in TOW for 20+ years and has always been a hands-on parent involved in Laguna Beach Girl Scouts, local theatre, and choir at LBHS. She spends her time reuniting adoptees with their birth parents, successfully doing so many times and bringing joy to many people. As I’m sure you know, medical bills can be debilitating. Her husband has recently recovered from cancer as well.” 

Katharine says, “The response has exceeded all expectations in such a short period of time. It’s awesome.”

The diagnosis was unforeseen and understandably devastating. Nancy had been experiencing stomach problems, but because of the COVID-19 quarantine, her appointments were canceled and rescheduled. 

Family and Nancy

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Submitted photo

Nancy on her 60th birthday last October

“She went into the hospital and they did a CAT scan, and they found she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. We knew she was having pain, but we weren’t expecting that,” says Katharine. “Because of the current restrictions due to COVID-19, during her three hospitalizations, she couldn’t have visitors. It has been really hard. This is how people who don’t want to wear masks can affect those who are in treatment.”

Once Nancy got the diagnosis, Katharine, who lives in Studio City, and her sister Zoë, who lives in Virginia, moved back home to be with her.

Katharine says, “She has had two infusions so far and will have a total of nine – if all goes as planned.” The treatments are three weeks on, one week off.

Family and group

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Family celebrating Nancy’s 60th birthday: (L-R) David Epstein, Katharine Epstein, Zoë Epstein, Nancy Epstein, and Dan Mon 

One of the most meaningful activities in Nancy’s life is volunteering for an organization called Search Angels, a nonprofit that provides search assistance for those seeking knowledge of their biological roots. 

“It’s extremely important to her. She’s very involved in that work,” says Katharine.

“I am doing everything in my power to share the GoFundMe to raise money for the Epstein family,” says Emily. “Usually I would do a fundraiser in person but unfortunately, that is not an option during a global pandemic. Friends and family can’t visit and assist in person like one usually would in this situation. So raising money to assist with their mounting medical bills seems like the least we can do. The Epstein family urgently needs all of our help.” 

To donate to the Epstein family, click here.

Laguna Beach to vote on November 3


Laguna Beach will hold its General Municipal Election on November 3.

The election of two council members, the city treasurer, and a city clerk – to succeed retiring City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker – to four year terms will be consolidated with the Statewide General Election.

As of Thursday, four local candidates had filed with the city clerk’s office their intention to run: attorney Larry Nokes for City Council, City Treasurer Laura Parisi for another term, and Protecting Unwanted Pets President and former city employee Ann Marie McKay and Mariann Tracy, executive assistant to City Manager John Pietig, for city clerk. 

The nominating period opens Monday and closes August 7, except for offices for which the incumbent is not running. Candidates for those offices have until August 12 to file the nomination papers.

Candidate statements may be submitted on forms provided by the city clerk in tandem with the nomination papers. The statements are limited to 200 words, not including name, age, and occupation of the candidates. Party affiliations, membership, or activity in partisan political organizations are prohibited in the statements. 

Candidates who opt to make statements must deposit $1,000 checks with the city. The checks are held until the night of the election, when it is determined if portions of the deposit will be returned.

Statements may be withdrawn until 5 p.m. of the next working day after the close of nominations, but not changed during the nominating period.

By law, the Orange County Board of Supervisors must be asked to consent to the consolidation of the local and statewide elections. The county will be reimbursed for any additional costs related to the Laguna Beach consolidated election, according to the resolution adopted by the city council.

The resolution asking for approval will be submitted no later than August, Chel-Walker said.

Dedication of Skipper Carrillo’s statue “Have a Home Run Day” this afternoon at 3 p.m.

After seven years, the life-size statue of Skipper Carrillo “Have A Home Run Day” will be dedicated this afternoon at 3 p.m. at its permanent home on the corner of Glenneyre St and Park Ave. The ceremony will consist of a few speakers and the unveiling of the statue.

Unfortunately, the party scheduled after the celebration has been canceled.

What better time to honor Skipper’s life than on his 82nd birthday, which also happens to be today. Happy Birthday, Skipper! The Friends of Skipper, the City of Laguna Beach, and The Skipper Carrillo Statue Trust invite the community to join in the celebration of both these monumental events.

Laguna artist Randy Morgan, who created the statue, says, “The statue captures the smiling Skipper, waving his arms and yelling his mantra…‘have a home run day’ (how many times have we seen him do it!). A donor plaque and a plaque telling Skipper’s life story will also be placed at the site, fulfilling a promise made to Skipper and his family to create the monument.” 

Dedication of closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Skipper with his collection of memorabilia

According to Morgan, there have been numerous people over the past seven years who helped raise money and have been instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, including the Arts and Planning Commissions, and a trust created by Philo Smith to raise funds for the sculpture. Smith, Morgan, Coleman Raffo, Forest & Ocean Gallery owner Ludo Liederitz, and Katy Moss serve as trustees. Michael Byrne, owner of Roux and The Saloon, has held multiple fundraisers. Ludo at the Forest & Ocean Gallery has been the director of the entire effort for fundraising and managing the project along with Randy.

The Friends of Skipper includes five groups – St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, The Skipper Carrillo Scholarship Fund, all the sports teams at Laguna Beach High School, the Skipper Carrillo Statue Fund, many private donors, and all the friends of Skipper Carrillo.

Dedication of site

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Contractor Bill Roper (on left) and artist Randy Morgan

Longtime Laguna Beach dentist Mark Judy and Diane Riegler (the Judy Family) donated the site on property they own. Ryan Singer, son of the late architect Mark Singer, donated his architectural services for the project, which was built by contractor Bob Roper, who got all the approvals and donated his services.

“It’s been a long journey, and we are happy to get it done,” says Morgan.

Although the culmination of that seven-year journey ends once the “Have a Home Run Day” statue is placed, there’s no doubt that everyone who passes it will continue to be inspired by Skipper Carrillo and the joyful and abundant spirit he brings to everyone he meets. 

Another project is underway too. Morgan is in the process of completing a documentary film with his producing partner Mark Gold of Fresh Cats Entertainment, which they are hoping to screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival next year. This documentary will feature the song “Have A Home Run Day” by Gary Arthur.

Longtime local Sheri Morgan announces candidacy for School Board

Sheri Morgan, longtime Laguna Beach resident who has spent 17 years with children and students in the Laguna Beach Unified School District, announced on Monday her candidacy for the School Board.

Morgan has been an active watchdog of the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s governing Board, a committee member of the District, Thurston, and TOW Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), and the calendar change of which she was opposed primarily due to what she says was a “lack of transparency, lack of governance, and lack of honesty in the final proposal.”

Additionally, Sheri has served as the Advocacy Chair for TOW and Thurston, Member of the LBHS Student Grant Committee, a Girl Scout leader, and one of the founders of Sports Swap, as well as various volunteer positions for all four schools for the last seventeen years during her four kids’ educational journey.

Longtime local Sheri Morgan

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Sheri Morgan has announced her candidacy for the LBUSD Board of Education

“I am running for School Board because I am very concerned with the current climate of our District and the educational opportunities available to our students in today’s COVID world. I feel that our students, parents, and community need a strong voice on the Board that is interested in not only their health and well-being, but also willing to fight for creative, collaborative solutions to ensure a quality education for the youth of Laguna Beach today and beyond,” stated Morgan.

“The Board needs new energy that will demand transparency and ensure that the taxpayer dollars are used for our students’ education, teacher, and staff needs rather than a district defense fund. The culture present amongst the Board and the School District, in my opinion, no longer reflects the voice of the students and parents or the mission statements of the District as a whole. As a small district, we are one of the few remaining that does not have a clear path to educating the students in the COVID world and with so many varieties of models available that support the health and well-being of our teachers and our students, Laguna could be a role model for education instead of one of the last to find a solution. 

“Leadership during crisis tells its own story and when the local parents and students ask for options and only one district-initiated solution is offered, it becomes imperative that change is made to re-instill and guarantee oversight and ensure the investment our taxpayers make to our schools reflects the value of the community. Laguna Beach used to be known as a private school education in a public setting. So many people express that they do not feel it is true today. 

“If I am elected to the School Board, I will work to ensure the Board majority provides oversight, transparency, honesty, and focuses on the important values of our parents, students’ education, and the community at large, while embracing teachers’ needs and maintaining a strong vision for the District.”

Morgan is a 28-year resident of Laguna Beach, graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Business Management, and earned certificates from University of California, Irvine.

“I believe I have the experience, ability, leadership, and energy to be a strong an valuable contributor to the School Board and work with everyone towards a common goal,” states Morgan.

Where’s Maggi?

Who can say where Maggi spotted this art piece?

Send your answers in 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.

Where's Maggi 8 7 20

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Council candidate Nokes receives endorsements from Congressman Rouda and Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, California Assembly, District 74, which includes Laguna Beach, and Harley Rouda, Congressman of the 48th Congressional District, which includes Laguna Beach, have both endorsed Larry Nokes in his run for Laguna Beach City Council.

“I have profound respect for Cottie, her contributions to our City, and her diligent work in the Assembly. Her current work on student debt relief, ocean level rise, and issues relating to the chronic homelessness all have direct impacts on Laguna,” said Nokes. “Cottie is doing the right things for the District and our City, and I look forward to working with her on a local level to address these issues and to create positive change for Laguna Beach.”

Council candidate Nokes

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Larry Nokes, candidate for City Council

“I am honored to be endorsed by my Congressman,” said Nokes. “He knows Laguna Beach. He is a leader who knows how to get things done, and it is my intention to emulate his good work by working with others to move Laguna forward in a positive way.”

Nokes, a local attorney, has lived in Laguna Beach for 36 years. He chaired the drafting committee of the City’s View Restoration and Preservation Ordinance. He led the way for getting relief for homeowners burdened by the historic inventory. He served for two years as chairman of the Board of Managers for the South Coast YMCA, which serves Laguna Beach, and served two years as the president of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Larry Nokes can be contacted through his website at www.larrynokesforcouncil.com.

Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen Joins “Mask Up to Open Up” campaign with local OC Mayors

Laguna Beach Mayor Bob

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach Newsletter

This week, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen joined other Orange County Mayors to participate in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for the OC Mayors “Mask Up to Open Up OC” campaign. The PSA should be released around Labor Day, encouraging the public to wear face coverings and will feature support from six to eight cities around Orange County.

Purple haze

Purple haze sun

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The sun sits like a red ball in the smoky lavender sky

Dennis’ Tidbits


October 2, 2020

Giant swell opportunity is small

Dennis 5Now we have the 13th named tropical system in the Eastern Pacific by the name of Category 1 Hurricane Marie, presently located about 600 miles SSW of the tip of Baja. Marie is only the fourth system to reach hurricane status so far this season as she is speeding to the west at 19 mph, so at her present course, we can forget about any south swell action from her. Sound familiar? 

Back in the days when we used to get Baja swells, we had an epic giant south swell in late August of 2014, which was the last time we used the name Marie, as we go through the same list of named storms every six years. So the list we’re using here in 2020 will be repeated again in 2026 unless a system makes landfall that inflicts damage or casualties or both. Then that storm’s name will be retired and assigned a new name for that particular letter.

Category 5 Marie in 2014 was a real showstopper as far as waves are concerned. The giant swell generated by her 160 mph winds only happens maybe two or three times a decade. The swell generated by her is probably in the top five of all time. To give you an idea of how rare these special events are, you have to go back to September of 1997 to find a swell with the same size and power, and that one was generated by Category 5 Hurricane Linda. 

Before Linda’s monster swell in ‘97, you have to dig back to 1976 when Category 5 Hurricane Claudia delivered waves as high as 25 ft. to Newport’s Wedge. They had to close off the entrance to the Newport Harbor as waves were still at least 10 ft. way up the Harbor at China Cove, which is at least a half mile inside the Harbor. 

Legendary surf photographer Woody Woodworth from Corona del Mar captured the giant waves on camera as sets up to 20-25 ft. broke top to bottom a whole quarter mile outside the Harbor entrance! They hadn’t dredged the Channel for quite some time so the sandbars were extraordinarily shallow.

In late August of 1972, there was Category 5 Hurricane Hyacinth with 20 ft. pipeline-like sets at 15th Street in Newport. Local talent Lenny Foster got totally barreled time after time on triple overhead plus bombs. 

Fifteenth Street in Newport, better known as Newport Point, gained national attention in September of 1966 when Category 5 Hurricane Kathleen put 15th Street on the surf map. The year 1972 is still considered the best Baja swell season ever, even to this date for size and consistency. The granddaddy of all Baja swells was the monster swell that attacked our beaches way back in September of 1939 when sets up to 25 ft. dismantled the pier in Laguna in a matter of just a few hours. 

Big Baja swells come and go but the list of standouts is quite short because the planets almost have to line up for such an event. The storm has to enter our swell window already a Category 5 – and the monster’s forward track once it hits that window has to be NW to NNW at a forward speed of at least 10 mph. But it can’t be more than 20 mph as a storm of that magnitude will overtake its own waves if the spinner is moving in excess of 20 mph – so the giant swell opportunity is small. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Two cousins walk the coast of California

By Janene Freitas

We started our journey of walking the coast of California in September 2010 and finished October 2020! We walked 1,338 miles! It started when I read an article in a AAA Magazine about two friends walking from Hermosa Beach to Malibu. 

I called my cousin Terri Crosetti and said, “We can do this, in fact we can walk from Laguna to Malibu.” She was in! After this walk, we decided to walk the entire coast of California. We did research and started planning our walks. Our first four years, we did one walk a year and then it hit us “we are getting older by the minute and if we want to finish, we better do more than one a year.” We wanted to finish before we reached 70, and we did! 

Two cousins Oregon

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Submitted photo

Janene Freitas (on left) and her cousin Terri Crosetti at Oregon border

So, we stepped it up (no pun intended) and starting walking two to three walks a year. Before each walk there was a lot of research routing our walk and deciding where to stay. We were so proud of ourselves when we reached the Mexican border, what an experience to see a fence extended into the ocean with men holding machine guns on one side and border patrol in SUV’s watching us on the other side. 

Along this journey we have walked highways, beaches, trails, forests, neighborhoods, up and down many stairs, climbed over rocks and through creeks and streams. We met so many wonderful and interesting people along the way. We have collected trash to make trash art, we have found beach glass, money, tools, and taken many pictures. 

Two cousins Catalina

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Janene and Terri walking 26 miles across the top of Catalina

On our walk across Catalina, we showered outside in our makeshift shower with water hanging in a bag above our heads heated by the sun. When possible, we had a massage to keep us going. We carried 20 lb. packs on our backs, we slept in tents, hotels, and houses. We had friends and family transport our luggage and pick us up when we got sick or injured and couldn’t go any farther. We took our cars and leapfrogged them along the way when we were too far from our homes. 

Two cousins mexico

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Terri at the Mexican border

We vowed not to give up and when we couldn’t walk because of blisters, we rented bikes. We kept a journal every night of our day’s journey. We played cards and Rummikub at night to relax. At the end of each journey, we rewarded ourselves with a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s! 

This was our time to spend together and accomplish something we had never done. We did it and we loved every minute! Thank you to all of you who have followed our journey and given us inspiration! We are not done – we will walk again and where is the question yet to be determined.

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi found this creature on the streets of Laguna. Where was she?

Send your answers in 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.

Where's Maggi 10 30 20

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Steel, Petrie-Norris, and Min win seats for Washington and Sacramento

Although election results have not been certified as final, it is apparent that Michelle Steel, Cottie Petrie-Norris, and Dave Min have all won their races.

Steel, who ran against incumbent and Emerald Bay resident Harley Rouda in the hotly contested 48th Congressional race, accepted his concession earlier in the week in announcing her victory.

Steel finished with more than 200,000 votes and edged Rouda 51 to 49 percent.

In his concession, Rouda hinted at a possible return in two years to challenge Steel for another shot at the seat.

Another race that has remained extremely close is the 74th State Assembly race between incumbent and Laguna Beach resident Cottie Petrie-Norris, and Newport Beach City Councilwoman Diane Dixon.

Although several thousand votes remain throughout Orange County, Petrie-Norris’ lead appears to be insurmountable. She presently leads in the counting with 132,776 of the votes, compared to Dixon’s 130,072.

In the 37th State Senate, challenger and UC Irvine Law professor Dave Min beat incumbent John Moorlach, gaining more than 51 percent of the vote.

The City Council race in Laguna Beach saw incumbent Mayor Bob Whalen winning, along with newcomer George Weiss, with 6,429 and 5,657 votes thus far, respectively.

Another hotly contested race was for the City Clerk position, with Ann Marie McKay edging out Mariann Tracy 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent.

Finally, the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education will welcome new Board member Kelly Osborne; incumbent Jan Vickers will serve another term as well.

The vote totals are below and will be updated again once certified.

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Thanksgiving options in Laguna Beach: outdoors & takeout

By Diane Armitage

This is an updated article from the one I first published a couple weeks ago on Thanksgiving dining options in Laguna Beach. 

Last week’s announcement of the dreaded return of COVID’s Purple Tier created its share of chaos in restaurants everywhere. Fortunately, the Purple Tier restriction that closes all indoor dining is not the first time our restaurant owners and chefs have experienced this phenomenon this year. Like the steadfast troopers they are, they simply turned on a dime and made a new plan.

Restaurants close indoor dining, outdoor dining remains open

For a handful of restaurants planning to serve Thanksgiving dinner to patrons, it meant ordering more heaters and getting tents in place for a 100 percent outdoor dining experience. 

As usual, most “dine-in, full service” restaurants – meaning restaurants that offer wait staff service – are closed for the holiday. A few hearty souls, though, are offering fabulous prix fixe menus on Thanksgiving Day, while four restaurants – Broadway by Amar Santana, Oak Laguna, Nirvana Grille, and Sapphire Laguna – are offering Thanksgiving takeout options. 

Here’s the latest update: 

Restaurants open for outdoor dining with regular menu only

Two restaurants, GG’s Bistro and Rooftop Lounge at La Casa del Camino, will be providing regular menu fare during their regular business hours. 

“We like to say, ‘Save a turkey, eat Turkish instead’ and we’re usually quite busy on Thanksgiving,” says GG’s Bistro owner Francesca Gundogar.   

Four restaurants serving Thanksgiving Day menus for outdoor dining 

To date, four popular Laguna Beach restaurants are reporting prix fixe only menus on Thanksgiving Day. Listed alphabetically: 

Driftwood Kitchen 

3-Course Prix Fixe Menu only. With Parker House rolls for the table for starters, guests choose one appetizer option from Roasted Baby Beet and Arugula Salad, Yellowtail Carpaccio, Butternut Squash Soup, or Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops. 

Then, guests choose one of three entrées – Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey with all the fixings, Roasted Prime Rib with sides, or Ora King Salmon Filet with sides. Traditional desserts for the table include Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, and Cookies. Kids can choose from three special menus as well. 

Kids can choose from three special menus as well. 

Seating: Open-air patio 

Hours: 1 - 8 p.m. 

Price: $75 for adults, $19 for kids 12 and younger + gratuity 

Driftwood Kitchen Reservations: (949) 715-7700

Las Brisas 

3-Course Prix Fixe Menu only. Starters include options of Lobster Salad and Cured Duck Breast. Choose from seven main entrées that include Chile-Rubbed Turkey served with traditional fixings, Slow-Roasted Salmon, Shrimp Tampiquenos, Petite Filet of Beef, Lamb Chops, Steak and Lobster Enchiladas, and Shrimp and Crab Rellenos. 

Dessert options include Pumpkin Cheesecake, Apple Bread Pudding, and Chocolate Pot de Crème. 

Seating: Open-air patio, outside lawn 

Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. 

Price: $80 per person + gratuity 

Las Brisas Reservations: (949) 497-5434

Thanksgiving options Lumberyard

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Courtesy of Lumberyard

Lumberyard’s Apple Cobbler finishes the Lumberyard Thanksgiving prix fixe with finesse


3-Course Prix Fixe Menu only. Starters include options of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, House Salad, or Herbed Goat Cheese Ravioli. 

Guests choose from three entrées: Roasted Dietsel Farms Turkey with traditional fixings, a 10-ounce Certified Angus Filet Mignon with port wine demiglaze, along with butternut squash purée and portobello mushrooms, or Miso Marinated Costa Rican Sea Bass with orange sage butter, caramelized butternut squash, and grilled broccolini. 

Dessert options include Pumpkin Pie or my favorite apple dessert in town, the Apple Cobbler. 

Seating: Open-air patio 

Hours: 2 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

Price: $72 per person + gratuity 

Lumberyard Reservations: (949) 715-3900

Thanksgiving options Drake

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Courtesy of The Drake Laguna

The Drake Laguna polishes its Thanksgiving menu with a choice of pumpkin pie or its Three-chocolate Parfait, above

The Drake Laguna 

3-Course Prix Fixe Menu only. Offering starters of Lobster Bisque or Autumn Harvest Salad, followed by an Organic Turkey Breast Dinner with all the fixings, and a choice of Pumpkin Pie or Three-Chocolate Parfait for dessert. 

Hours: Two seatings, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 

Price: $75 per person + gratuity 

Reservations: (949) 376-1000

Four restaurants serving Thanksgiving takeout (only) 

These Laguna restaurants will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but they will be getting plenty of turkey cooking done in advance with pre-ordered “to-go” menus that can be delivered or picked up. 

Broadway by Amar Santana 

For the record, Chef Amar’s deadline for his takeout Thanksgiving Dinner was yesterday afternoon (Monday), but you might be able to plead for just one more order if you call the restaurant quickly. Check out his website for details.

Broadway Ordering information: No promises! Order ASAP at (949) 715-8234. 

Scheduled pickup is Wednesday, Nov 25, 3 - 8 p.m. 

Broadway Price: Entire Thanksgiving Dinner package serving 8-10 people is $495. 

Nirvana Grille 

A perennial favorite, Nirvana’s Chef Lindsay is serving up a “Build Your Own Feast” Thanksgiving Dinner to-go. 

Choose from four best-selling appetizers, five salads, several options of Roasted Free Range Turkey, large and small options of Steelhead Salmon, and even Glazed Maple Ham. 

Thanksgiving options stuffing

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Courtesy of Nirvana Grille

Thanksgiving stuffing from Nirvana Grille

Sides range in giant number from two of my favorites, Butternut Squash Ravioli and Roasted Kobacha & Butternut Squash Risotto, to green beans, heirloom-colored carrots, roasted brussels sprouts, a fabulous Parsnip/Turnip and Yukon Gol Potato Purée, and classic options of mashed potatoes and herb stuffing. 

Don’t forget to throw in the extras (pan gravy, rolls, etc.) and, for heaven’s sake, choose more than one of the four desserts with options of whipped cream or housemade Cinnamon Ice Cream. 

Nirvana Grille Ordering information: Call (949) 497-0027 or speak with Chef Lindsay personally at (949) 637-4708. 

Pickup is available Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), Nov 26, between 1 and 3 p.m. at the restaurant. 

Nirvana Grille Price: Entirely based on the options you choose. 

Oak Laguna 

Executive Chef Chris Mahler is offering your entire Thanksgiving Day meal on a platter (or, as it were, several “to-go” boxes). 

Order the entire meal, from turkey to all the fixings and dessert, too, in one package, or purchase any item on an a la carte basis. If you order your entire meal “chilled,” you receive your order fully cooked and packaged for reheating, or order it piping hot, your choice.

Thanksgiving options Oak

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Courtesy of Oak Laguna Beach

Not interested in turkey? Order Oak’s Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin, instead, for your “Main Event” Thanksgiving dinner

Oak Laguna’s “Main Event” includes Roasted Turkey (7-10 pounds or 10-13 pounds, your call) or Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin. 

Then, choose one salad from three options. Choose three sides from options of Baked Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Traditional Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Heirloom Carrots, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, or Green Bean Casserole. Chef Chris assures me that you can add additional a la carte items at will, too. 

Lastly, choose dessert from either an entire Apple Pie or Maple Pecan Pie.

Oak Ordering information: Chef Chris has established a direct Thanksgiving order call line: (949) 433-6233. 

You may place orders through Wednesday, Nov 25. Schedule pickup or delivery at any time during normal operating hours, but last pickup/delivery is at 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening. 

Oak Price: The entire meal (with family size in mind) includes entrée, one soup, one salad, three side dishes, turkey gravy, one dozen sweet rolls, and choice of pie for $210. 

A la carte pricing ranges by course (i.e., starters or side dishes, etc.). 

Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook. 

New Sapphire owner Russ Bendel is offering a Thanksgiving Family Meal Box that provides “Everything But The Turkey” for a party of six. 

Created by Executive Chef Jared Cook, the Box of all the fixings includes Lettuce Salad, House Made Mashed Potatoes and Gray, Kale & Sausage Stuffing, Heirloom Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and two bottles of wine, Martin Ray Chardonnay and Angeline Pinot Noir. 

Thanksgiving options Sapphire

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Courtesy of Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook

Everything but the turkey comes in this takeout “Family Meal Box” from Sapphire

And, as a special bonus, you receive a $20 gift card for future dining at Sapphire or for use in its adjacent Pantry. Optionally add in a liter of Pumpkin Old-Fashioned Craft Cocktails for six for an additional $50. 

Sapphire Ordering Information: Call in advance at (949) 715-9888 to pre-order. Modifications are politely declined. You’re encouraged to order by Saturday, Nov 21st. 

Meal boxes will be available for pickup Thanksgiving morning between 9 and 11 a.m. Reheating instructions are provided. 

Sapphire Price: The meal in a box is $149, including the two bottles of wine. 

And, as a neighborly  aside: Hendrix 

While Chef Reiner Schwarz serves up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Laguna’s Driftwood Kitchen, his Laguna Niguel-based restaurant, Hendrix, is offering both dine-in and “to-go” Thanksgiving meals. 

Takeout orders must be placed by Tuesday, Nov 24 with curbside pickup on Thanksgiving Day between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Be sure to shop the Hendrix marketplace, too, for added bites and great wines. 

Thanksgiving Day at Hendrix offers a prix-fixe menu only between 1 and 8 p.m. Call the restaurant to learn more.  

Laguna restaurants closed on Thanksgiving Day 

These restaurants are typically “dine-in” restaurants; “counter service” restaurants such as Slice Pizza, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, etc. have not been queried. As noted earlier, a few restaurants are still getting back to me, but this is the complete list to date for closures: AhbA, Alessa, Asada, Carmelita’s, The Cliff, The Deck, Harley Laguna Beach, Maro Wood Grill, Mozambique, Nick’s, Oliver’s Osteria, Reunion Kitchen, Ristorante Rumari, Romeo Cucina, Roux, Royal Hawaiian, Salerno’s Ristorante, South of Nick’s, Skyloft, Starfish, and 230 Forest. 

Thank you, again, for your continued support of our great Laguna Beach restaurants. If anything changes in our Orange County COVID “tier” rating, I’ll be releasing that news in my social feeds. Let’s, otherwise, hope for the best and plan for great (while smaller) Thanksgiving feasts! 

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at https://thebestoflagunabeach.com/ and follow on Instagram @BestofLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).

Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Harvard, IVC, MIT, military, abroad…where will they go?


Yesterday, 261 Laguna Beach High School grads threw off their caps and celebrated the class of 2018.

The graduation highlights included speakers: Senior Addresses by Hannah Vogel and Joseph Ravenna, the Valedictorian Address by Lauren Tran, and the Graduate Address by teacher Mark Alvarez.

Cal Hats

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Congratulations to the LBHS class of 2018!

Approximately 60.3 percent of the class will be attending a four-year school in the fall, and 29.2 percent are going to a two-year program.

Valedictorian Lauren Tran had a GPA of 4.8 and will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall, where she will study Cognitive Science. The class of 2018 Salutatorian is Benjamin Sharp.

Cal Lauren Tran

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LBHS Valedictorian Lauren Tran

The LBHS Class of 2018 has goals for the future. They are off to colleges, universities, technical schools, military service, missionary work, trade schools, and more… 

Cal Schools list

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Oh, the places they’ll go!

More graduation photos by Scott Brashier: