Share this story

Fair Game


The new performance at Laguna Playhouse will “kill it!”

TJ headshot AugI love golf! Imagine my excitement when I turned this week to see what’s going on at the Laguna Playhouse and came across Murder on the Links. It’s described as “something’s afoul on the private golf course at Merlinville-Sur-Mer – namely the body of Hercule Poirot’s newest client. Acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz brings the famed Belgian detective to life to solve one of Agatha Christie’s most intricate whodunits. Of course, there are the host of usual – and unusual – suspects. A cast of six versatile actors embodies myriad characters as they navigate the twists and turns of this lively and fun new adaptation. You won’t want to miss a thrilling moment of this comic mystery.”

Sounds like fun. The performance runs from next Wednesday, May 31 through June 18.

You may purchase your tickets here.

In fact, while you’re thinking about tickets, how about a Mainstage subscription to the 2023-2024 Season. Here’s what’s on tap: 2P4H – 2 Pianos 4 Hands; The Rainmaker; The Angel Next Door; Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Fats Waller Musical Show; a shayna maidel; Tartuffe and Holmes & Watson.

The fact is, when you subscribe, there are benefits. First off, you get priority seating by having access to the best seats, and if you can’t make one of the dates on the calendar, there’s a free ticket exchange to make it convenient; maybe you have friends you’d like to bring along, the Playhouse makes it easy by allowing you discounts on those additional tickets; and if you want to try something new, like the Youth Theatre performances, they’ll make it easy for you to get tickets.

A little history on what you would become part of should you decide to subscribe: the Playhouse was founded as a community theater in 1920, making it one of the oldest continuously operating, not-for-profit theaters on the West Coast.

And as far as why you should consider supporting their endeavor, the mission of the Laguna Playhouse is to enrich lives through the magic of live theater, to provide educational opportunities for children and adults, and to create experiences that stimulate cultural and social interaction and inspire our community.

That’s hard to argue with.

• • •

Speaking of entertainment, Circus Bella is returning to Laguna Beach on Saturday, June 10 with programs at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Bluebird Park. This year’s performance is titled Bananas! and is described as “a bombastic ballyhoo and celebration of silliness. Circus Bella offers a modern twist on one-ring circus…overflowing with heart and soul.” In fact, it’s their 14th year of what they call “Free Shows in the Park.”

Fair Game Bananas SNL 5.23

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Circus Bella

One-ring circus comes to Laguna Beach on June 10

The 60-minute performances include acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and clowns. And it’s backed up by the live music of Rob Reich and the six-piece Circus Bella All-Star Band.

Here’s the deal. It’s free...although they politely suggest a donation of perhaps $20. It’s a group that is presently touring with multiple San Francisco Bay Area performances and Reno, before heading to Laguna Beach.

Because there are no chairs and it takes place in the park, guests should feel free to bring picnic blankets and small folding chairs for their comfort.

The program is presented by the City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission and funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

• • •

There always seems to be something special going on at the LAM. Take for example this weekend, which begins with Storytime Saturday on May 27 at 11 a.m. You’re invited to bring your favorite little ones up to the Laguna Art Museum for an interactive storytime and art-making experience. “The read-along will be supplemented with mindfulness exercises, art-making projects, or in-gallery activities that promote meaningful connections with caregivers and others.”

This month’s feature is I Am Golden written by Eva Chen and illustrated by Sophie Diao. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the kids will engage in a read aloud and art-making activity celebrating the book selection.

For ticket info, go here.

It doesn’t stop there, because on Sunday an LCAD Workshop features Amanda Kazemi. Kazemi is a recent MFA graduate from LCAD and she’ll lead a needle-felting workshop. She’ll teach all attendees the basics of needle-felting and help you create your very own seal.

Supplies for the workshop, which is intended for those 8 and older, are included in the ticket price.

Check it out here.

• • •

The Blessings of the Artists Ceremony will take place Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church (1042 Temple Terrace). 

According to Gail Duncan, “All are invited to attend this beautiful non-denominational prayer service, bringing together those in our community who keep the reputation of Laguna Beach as a City of Art alive. It recognizes the talents and gifts the artists share with prayer and blessings, especially now as we enter our Summer of Art.”

An outdoor reception will follow.

Questions should be directed to Angela at 949.510.6930.

Share this story

Budget highlights flexibility, new services; councilmembers focus on housing fund, facilities, committee work


City Council last week gave feedback on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year and focused on creating an ongoing funding source for a housing fund, working on a plan for facilities and some interesting ideas for committee work.

On May 16, councilmembers heard the proposed budget for FY 2023-24 and provided specific direction to city staff during the meeting. The budget will return for final review and adoption on June 13.

Over the last several years, the council’s financial decisions have positioned the city to manage the uncertainty of a pandemic, rising inflation, a possible recession and the impact of global events on the local economy, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said during the meeting. However, despite the continued economic growth, any uncertainty makes long-term financial planning difficult, she noted. Therefore, they proposed a one-year budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“This approach would allow us to remain flexible and responsive to changes in the local and global economy while maintaining our commitment to financial responsibility and sustainability,” Dupuis said.

In a note included in the draft document, Dupuis said the economic outlook for the city is cautious, considering the possible recession looming. Revenues are performing slightly better than budget estimates, but projected to experience minimal increases between 3%-5%. The fallout from record inflation, higher interest rates, higher construction costs, and continued struggles within the labor market for key positions will continue to impact revenues and expenditures for the upcoming year, Dupuis explained.

Councilmembers commended staff for their work on the budget.

“It’s a lot of work and it’s obvious that you’ve been spending a lot of time working on this,” said Councilmember Mark Orgill.

Most of the councilmembers suggested direction was regarding a housing fund, the facilities master plan and a proposed emergency operations center, acquiring or utilizing a parcel in South Laguna for a dog park, and work from the Heritage and Beautification committees.

Mayor Bob Whalen and Councilmember George Weiss mentioned the housing fund during last year’s budget discussion but it didn’t quite translate the way he remembered it, Whalen said. He suggested directing staff to develop an ongoing revenue stream for a housing fund. They have a housing element and they know they need to generate housing, he said.

“I think that’s the only way we’re going to get money set aside,” Whalen said. “I want it to be crystal clear that it needs to be something you develop in going forward with budgets.”

Weiss supported Whalen’s suggestion, and reiterated his proposal from last year’s budget meeting to redirect all or a portion of Transient Occupancy Tax from short-term lodging to an affordable housing program.

“We’ve all been talking about housing for many, many (years) – a long time – so I of course support that,” Orgill agreed.

Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf agreed with the focus on housing. As she has at previous meetings, Kempf again suggested looking into converting second-story office buildings into housing. It’s an easy way to start to get some traction on tackling the issue, she said.

“We don’t have to build a thing, we just have to change our zoning,” Kempf said. “I’d really like to get going on that.”

Budget highlights flexibility new services St Catherines

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

A recent budget workshop focused on new services and a facilities master plan, both of which include the recently acquired Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center (the former St. Catherine of Siena School campus)

Regarding the facilities master plan, Whalen noted that while the idea was to fund the emergency operations center at the mid-year modifications, he suggested they fund a portion of it now and get an EOC plan in place.

“I think we really need to emphasize the importance of moving forward with that plan quickly,” Whalen noted.

They should definitely fast-track the plan for the EOC, Orgill agreed.

Staff doesn’t have a complete plan for it yet, but they’re working on it, Dupuis noted. There is also an issue at the location, she added, since there is no backup generator at the site. They need to look at the generator for the facility closely, she said, which will likely be $1 million or more of an investment. They are already assessing the other equipment to see what they can use, she added, so they should have a complete plan by mid-year.

Councilmember Alex Rounaghi suggested that a portion of the $750,000 earmarked for the facilities master plan, which was not only to develop the plan but also to be used on the actual facilities, could be used as a downpayment on the EOC project.

They are going to have to invest a lot of money into the city facilities, including the aging infrastructure and the recently acquired Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center (formerly the former St. Catherine of Siena School campus), Kempf said.

“I want to be very thoughtful in terms of what monies we have available and how we spend it going forward,” she said.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Share this story

Visitors on the 48th Annual Laguna Charm House Tour get a glimpse of Laguna’s heritage

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Those who attended the Laguna Charm House Tour, presented by Village Laguna, on Sunday, May 21, experienced a taste of the heritage of Laguna Beach as they toured houses in neighborhoods dating from the early 1900s. Visitors toured cottages and bungalows, a working artist studio, art in the tradition of the early plein air painters and houses related to families that formed some of the community’s landmarks, in addition to a church.

Styles ranged from early California Monterey revival, summer cottage and early 20th century bungalow to period revival and mid-century modern. Most were located in historic North Laguna, an area that grew from an empty 1906 subdivision to a quiet neighborhood of tree-lined streets and gracious, enchanting homes.

visitors on first home

Click on photo for a larger image

Weeping Elm

First property: Weeping Elm

Entering through the Dutch doors of this 1937 board and batten Beach Cottage, guests are greeted with the light, open, airy, carefree charm of a quintessential Laguna summer beach home. Purchased by the Satterthwaite family in 2017, Weeping Elm Cottage reflects the aesthetics and sensibilities of original beach cottage culture of early 20th century California, built modest in scale with simple, box-plan construction. The property was listed on the City of Laguna Beach’s Historic Register in 2018.

 Visitors on second home

Click on photo for a larger image

Hummingbird Bungalow

Second property: Hummingbird Bungalow

Walking into Hummingbird Bungalow was a step back in time. Built in 1913 on the edge of Boat Canyon, the house is owned by Betsy Woltz and is one of the earliest remaining cottages in the neighborhood, part of the 1906 Cliff Drive subdivision of Howard Heisler and L.C. McKnight. The house has one bedroom, one bathroom, with a bungalow-style enclosed porch, living and dining area, kitchen, basement and loft. The property was listed on the City of Laguna Beach’s Historic Register in 1991.

Visitors on Christian Science Church

Click on photo for a larger image

Hummingbird Bungalow (on left) behind the Christian Science Church. Betsy Woltz and her late husband Robert met and worshipped there.

Third property: The First Church of Christ, Scientist

Prior to 1916, Christian Scientists in Laguna Beach gathered in private homes. As interest grew, meetings moved to several larger locations until a permanent church, designed by Laguna architect Aubrey St. Clair, was built on the corner of Glenneyre and Legion streets in the 1930s.

Visitors on inside church

Click on photo for a larger image

Reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie architecture style, that philosophy seems to have prevailed in this church designed by Los Angeles architect Paul R. Hunter. The rectangular stained-glass windows suggest Wright influences.

A new church site was purchased in 1950, and construction began in 1951. The church was formally dedicated in 1956. A Moller pipe organ was installed in 1961. The distinctive wooden beam, wood paneling and chandeliers in the main auditorium were added in the early 1970s. The auditorium church plan modeled on a lecture hall with congregants gathered around a dual pulpit is an American Christian Science approach to church design.

Aldeita Court “Little Village

A graceful archway spans the Mediterranean Revival Aldeita Court and connects the buildings and Laguna’s pioneering families with the town’s artistic past and future. The property features house and apartments in a U-plan around a romantic brick courtyard with a tiled fountain.

Local historian and Laguna native Jane Petty Janz said that the original house on the property was built in 1908 by Oscar and Lee Farman. The Farman house was moved off the land in 1939 and their son-in-law (married to their daughter Thelma) built three apartments and an upstairs home for Lee.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Share this story

Pacific Marine Mammal Center holds celebration to kick off “Catch the Wave” capital campaign

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Saturday, May 20, Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) welcomed more than 300 guests from across the community to celebrate and kick-off the “Catch the Wave” capital campaign.

pacific PMMC CEO Glenn Gray spoke about the next wave and needed funds.jpg 1

Click on photo for a larger image

PMMC CEO Glenn Gray spoke about the next wave and needed funds

This public kick-off culminated years of collaboration with city and county officials and meticulous planning to build a revamped Center that can meet the growing needs of both their animal and human communities.

pacific Dr. Dan and board.jpg 2

Click on photo for a larger image

A few of the PMMC board members (L-R): Dr. Dan Haspert, Tom Hale, Phil Shuluk, John Kinney, Jeff Meberg and Lisa Locklear

PMMC CEO Glenn Gray and board members addressed the crowd sharing that, “$6.2M of the $14M project cost has been raised to date and we are looking for leaders in the community who inspire to make a difference with us to help complete the funding.”

pacific marine Cunninghams.jpg 3

Click on photo for a larger image

Stephanie Cunningham (second from right) with her daughter Laura Cunningham (far left) and granddaughter Bella with Laguna Beach Lifeguard Michael Chapman. Stephanie’s husband, John Cunningham, was one of the founders of PMMC (then called “Friends of the Sea Lion”) in 1971.

Gray also shared that, “Eighteen months from now you may not recognize the little red barn in the canyon. The capital campaign we are celebrating today is not about funding an expansion, it’s about funding a transformation. Our hospital protocols, educational programs, visitor experience and our water savings will transform what we do and how we do it.”

pacific marine the dream.jpg 4

Click on photo for a larger image

“The Dream” expansion project

The expansion doubles the square footage allocated to those and other educational programs, which already serves 35,000 students per year.

pacific Ed Steinfeld,KX FM morning host, served as MC.jpg 5

Click on photo for a larger image

Ed Steinfeld, KX FM morning host, served as “Catch the Wave” MC

Additional patient units and pools will improve patient care and increase capacity, better preparing the hospital for busy periods and “unusual mortality events,” years in which conditions so deteriorate for marine mammals that patient occupancy can quadruple from its normal numbers.

pacific marine glenn and marilyn.jpg 6

Click on photo for a larger image

PMMC CEO Glenn Gray with Chair of the Ocean Club Marilyn Green

The expansion will add cutting-edge treatment rooms for surgeries, endoscopy, ultrasound, radiographs and other medical needs. A dedicated necropsy space will improve the facility’s research capacity, facilitating improved collaboration with other institutions.

pacific marine board and mascots.jpg 7

Click on photo for a larger image

PMMC board members, Dr. Alissa Deming (second from left), staff and friends pose with Center mascots

According to PMMC’s Vice President of Conservation Medicine and Science Dr. Alissa Deming, “The expansion provides the opportunity to grow the marine mammal teaching hospital and facilitates training the next generation of veterinarians and researchers dedicated to marine mammals and ocean health.”

pacific marine Kathryn and Greg.jpg 8

Click on photo for a larger image

Kathryn Burton Gray (Glenn Gray’s wife) with Laguna local Greg MacGillivray, co-founder of MacGillivray Freeman Films

They have designated space at the main entrance as the Founders Courtyard to highlight John Cunningham and Jim Stauffer, their founders more than 50 years ago. They also wanted to include the rich history of the artesian community at PMMC.

pacific marine cheer.jpg 9

Click on photo for a larger image

Laguna Hills High School cheer squad welcome guests to the event

PMMC commissioned artists Casey Parlette and Mike Tauber to bring this idea to life and their contributions will be enjoyed by generations to come.

pacific marine parlette and son.jpg 10

Click on photo for a larger image

Artist Casey Parlette with his son talking about the Founders sculpture he designed for PMMC

Parlette designed and built the Founders statue, a work in bronze and steel depicting a sea lion swimming in kelp to reach his dinner of silver fish. When installed, this statue will stand nearly 18” tall and greet every guest who visits.

pacific marine Dr. Dan and Tauber.jpg 11

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Dr. Dan Haspert (PMMC board member) with artist Mike Tauber with design for bench for the PMMC fundraiser

Also in the Founders Courtyard will be a ceramic tile mosaic view of sea lions and marine creatures created by artist Mike Tauber that will frame the statue along a 30’ wall.

Iconic ornaments.jpg 12

Click on photo for a larger image

Iconic Ornaments Co-founder Jackson Collins, who along with his brother, Sawyer, launched their company in 2021, and have their glass creations such as the Laguna Lifeguard Tower and Trolley, for sale in the PMMC gift shop

Tiles are available with a $1,000 donation and gives you the opportunity to paint the tiles with Tauber.

pacific marine caring.jpg 13

Click on photo for a larger image

Youngsters are learning about caring for injured sea lions

For more information on the project and to learn how you can participate in this historic opportunity, contact Debra Finster, vice president of philanthropy at 949.929.7297, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, go to slideshow below:

Share this story

Overcast skies

Overcast skies SNL 5.23

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

With no sun, the beaches of Laguna are virtually empty

Share this story

Cyber-crime awareness

By Nicole Rice, Community Service Officer (Crime Prevention), LBPD

There are many different kinds of cyber-crime that occur every day. To help identify if you are being targeted, here are three common types of cyber-crime to help you spot the red flags:

Phishing: Cyber attackers send malicious emails to trick users in sending them personal information such as passwords, credit cards, phone numbers, etc. An example of this is a fraud email stating your password to an account is expired and you need to update it. Double check who sent you the email and make sure they are a legitimate company. You can find this out by comparing the email sender to the one on their website.

Laguna Beach Motorcycle

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

Stay alert

Fraud businesses: This is where fraud companies will reach out to provide a service to you. They can offer great deals and fast service to get you interested in their company. Always check their credibility and ask for a license. If they ask you to pay in credit cards or all upfront, it might be a cyber-crime. No company will ever ask you to pay in credit cards.

Sweepstakes, prizes and lottery fraud: This attack sends individuals fraud “wins.” They can make you believe you really won a sweepstakes or a prize with convincing emails, phone calls, text messages, or mail. If you did not enter a contest to win a prize, it may be too good to be true.

Do not give them your personal information.

Stay safe and if you are never sure about an email, phone call, text message, or mail, you can always ask someone before replying back to the original sender. Sometimes these criminals will use fear or excitement to make you feel like you need to respond quickly or you will lose it or get in trouble. Always double check!

Share this story

Be careful picking the flowers!

Be careful picking the flowers SNL 5.23

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jean Brotherton

Spring showers make for beautiful May flowers

Share this story

Dennis’ Local Almanac


Season’s first swell

Dennis 5Southern Cal’s south-facing beaches were treated to the season’s first healthy Southern Hemisphere swell last week. Premiere breaks saw some sets nearing double overhead sets and surface conditions were generally favorable during the four-day pulse. Most of the energy hit during the work and school week, so I’m pretty sure that quite a few surfers played hooky. Can you blame them? I’m such a great role model!

I used to play hooky back in the day, calling in sick and I used to get away with it until our school’s truant officer finally got wise. “So, Mr. McTighe, you said you were in bed most of last week with a high fever but how come you’re so tan? I finally called your parents, and they said you probably forged their notes. You’ve already missed 23 days this semester and it’s only late April! Miss one more day and you don’t get your high school diploma!”

Hey, I couldn’t help it, because the spring of 1965 was epic with a ton of early south swells. It got to the point where if the surf was flat, I’d show up for school, but if there was an epic swell, school took a back seat. Plus, weekends were really crowded, and it seemed like the best conditions were during the work and school week, more often than not. My high school was not buying my reasoning one bit. The only thing that saved my butt was I was an A student, but school was so boring for the most part.

Several large clusters of thunderstorms are showing up on satellite images as of late. It signifies it’s time again for the formation of tropical systems in the Eastern Pacific Tropics way down there off the coasts of Southern Mexico and parts of Central America. Anytime now, the first storm of the 2023 season will get its act together with sustained winds of at least 39 mph – and it will be given the name Adrian.

The season which began last week on May 15, usually starts out rather slow with the first named storm showing up about every three years or so during the month of May. Things pick up a bit in June and July but really ramp up in August and September, especially when there’s a strong El Niño going on. That’s when conditions become much more favorable for more frequent and stronger systems to form. There was one August in particular that popped out a total of seven systems in just four weeks and that was smack dab in the middle of the strong El Niño event of 1972, which still is considered by us old timers to be the best summer ever for consistent swells – even to this day.

There were hurricanes Celeste, Diane, Estelle, Fernanda, Gwen, Hyacinth and Inez. I’ve got the records to prove it. That’s why El Niño is our friend and La Niña is the enemy. Proof of that theory is the summer of 1973 on the heels of the epic summer of ‘72. The summer of 1973 had only seven sunny days all summer with cold water and only one hurricane swell the whole season. A strong La Niña event showed up on the heels of that wonderful El Niño we were blessed with the year before.

It is the coming of summer to the Northern Hemisphere that ushers in conditions that spawn tropical storms and hurricanes both in the Pacific and Atlantic. I’ll elaborate more on the life span of a hurricane in next week’s Stu News Laguna.

Until next week!

Share this story

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Club at 22nd Annual Art of Giving Gala

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach (BGCLB) held its 22nd Annual Art of Giving Gala, a “platinum jubilee” on Saturday, May 13 at Montage Laguna Beach.

celebrate the attendees

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Frank Salas

Gala attendees at Montage Laguna Beach

The gala celebrated BGCLB’s 70th anniversary of service to the community. Attendees enjoyed an exquisite dinner, live entertainment provided by a 10-piece big band, Close Harmony, and live and silent auctions. The evening of celebration was chaired by Jimmy Azadian and Carrie Click, long-time residents of Laguna Beach and supporters of BGCLB.

celebrate the Azadian and Click

Click on photo for a larger image

Jimmy Azadian and Carrie Click

The gala marks the club’s largest fundraising event of the year, which supports the continual development of youth in Laguna Beach and surrounding areas. BGCLB thanks gala attendees for their generous contributions which make a difference in the lives of youth every day.

celebrating the staff and kids

Click on photo for a larger image

BGCLB staff and members in front of the wish boards

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach serves more than 3,000 youth per day in the Laguna Beach, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo areas. The club’s mission is to empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential by promoting their healthy social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit, or call 949.494.2535.

Share this story

“Catch the Wave” at PMMC on May 20

Join the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) for “Catch the Wave,” a fun-filled community celebration, when PMMC welcomes “The Next Wave,” and kicks off the next exciting 50 years on Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Catch the Wave sea lion

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of PMMC

“Catch the Wave” at PMMC on May 20

PMMC is expanding the little red barn in the canyon and would like to celebrate with the community. During this free event, bring your family and friends to enjoy complimentary food, activities and prizes. 

Highlighting the festivities will be a ceremony to unveil the Founders Statue at 12 p.m.

Visit to RSVP and learn about PMMC’s coloring contest in anticipation of “Catch the Wave.” If there is a youngster you know (12 years and younger) who would like to participate, they can click on one of the three coloring pages to download and color. The rules are included and the deadline is May 15. Winners in each of three age categories will be announced at “Catch the Wave” and receive an invitation to a patient release.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. For more information, visit

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: for questions about advertising


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.