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Shelby Anderson – LBHS history teacher (and history princess) sparks inspiration


A self-proclaimed history princess, Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) history teacher Shelby Anderson came very close to her dream of becoming a Disneyland princess by being selected as one of the winners of the Walt Disney 100th anniversary Teacher Celebration. Although not considered royalty, many parents and students think teachers belong in that sacred realm.

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Courtesy of Shelby Anderson

Walt Disney 100th Anniversary Teacher Celebration

Anderson was invited – as one of 100 exceptional teachers who reflect the creativity and imagination of Walt Disney – to attend a one-of-a-kind teacher event. Out of the more than 7,900 applicants, Anderson was among the 100 selected to be treated to a four-day, three-night stay at the Disneyland Resort to experience the Disney 100 celebration. An added bonus was a chance to visit the Disney Imagination Campus workshops and offerings.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Walt Disney Company and appreciative that I have the support of my school and colleagues to be able to provide creative and imaginative opportunities for my students to learn,” Anderson said. “I am further honored to represent my school and community.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Shelby Anderson in her history classroom at LBHS, where she teaches both freshmen and juniors

Anderson explained the application process, “In order to be recognized for this honor, I had to write an essay highlighting ‘Imagination and curiosity as powerful problem-solving tools and describe example(s) where I brought wonder, creativity and imagination to life in my curriculum and inspired my student(s) in new ways.’”

A section excerpted from her essay reveals important insights in her teaching process, “Developing empathetic, resilient, and innovative members of society are values that I provide my high school students opportunities for, and one unit where I have fostered these character traits is studying World War II. This period of history is one that provides many stories for my students to connect with and find inspiration from everyday heroes who overcame some of America’s biggest challenges.”

There’s no doubt that in her classroom, creativity and imagination run wild. Anderson employs WWII history reenactments, using authentic uniforms and artifacts, to engage her students. (Aside from her history gig at LBHS, she’s also a coach for Mock Trials).

The reenactments started with her own personal desire for a hobby. She saw the SoCal WAC group on Instagram and was interested. “I’ve always loved to dress up,” she said. “I love to go to estate sales searching for vintage clothes and artifacts, it’s like a treasure hunt.”

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Courtesy of Shelby Anderson

Anderson in a reenactment at an event

Her application essay stated, “I have been required to be resourceful and innovative to keep my students engaged during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a member of The Historical Unit of Southern California (HUSC), I am a reenactor with the Women’s Army Corps and seek to educate the public on American history through the use of original uniforms and artifacts. I brought this passion to my students by hosting a variety of Zoom extra credit events where students would get to interact with World War I and World War II reenactors and see history as close to first-hand as possible. Through these events, students got to learn about conditions for soldiers, home front experiences, uniforms and tools, and even take a virtual ride in a WWII Willy’s Jeep.”

As students slowly returned to school, Anderson still sought to make her classes as interactive as possible. “When we were able to return to the classroom, I invited other members of our reenactment group to speak to our students about the Civil War and its own pandemic of the Spanish flu. My female reenactors spoke to students about Civil war dress (including showing the students and applying all the layers of petticoats and dress to me).”

As more and more venues opened up as the pandemic calmed down, Anderson worked to develop relationships with museums and venues in the area and provide opportunities for students to engage with the HUSC’s reenactors in real life. She has since taken on a board position with the nonprofit and is their Education Outreach coordinator.

“Service is close to my heart. If I hadn’t become a teacher, I might have gone into social work or nonprofit management,” she said.

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Natalya Sheddan creates Brooks Street Brick Art Gallery with help from the community 


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

According to folks who have been around since the early Laguna days, artists used to hang their art from fences or display artwork in their front yards. Natalya Sheddan is not only carrying on that tradition but enhancing it, by dedicating the space outside the fence of her charming cottage to brick art. Her Brooks Street Brick Gallery is a quirky collection of painted bricks, each designed by a member of the community.

Walking past Sheddan’s yard on the corner of Brooks and Catalina streets is like discovering a hidden treasure, and it’s impossible not to stop and look at the diverse designs and inscriptions – both humorous and inspirational – on the bricks.

Natalya Sheddan house

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Brooks Street Brick Gallery 

Sheddan didn’t have this creative collaboration in mind when she moved into her house a year ago with her two children, who are 6 and 4 years old. An Austin, Texas transplant, Sheddan said, “This was the first house I looked at, and I fell in love with it.”

Born and raised in Ukraine, she came to California (because her parents had friends here) when she was 13 years old.

“I came to the area 23 years ago,” Sheddan said. “When I first drove to Laguna, I fell in love with it and kept coming back to visit every weekend. Then I decided to rent a house. It’s a very magical place.”

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Natalya Sheddan

One could say building is in Sheddan’s blood. (Coincidentally, bricks date back to 7000 BC, which makes them one of the oldest-known building materials.)

She transitioned from a 10-year career as a construction lawyer to a builder and owns a building company called Notta in Austin.

Sheddan’s dwellings are unique. Some are permanent homes and others serve as Airbnbs. “Notta means – it’s not a house and not a cabin – they are hybrids,” she said. Sheddan spends half of her time in Austin, traveling back and forth every week. However, the family will spend the summer here.

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Crazy for cats: Local author Pamela Knudsen transforms her love for cats into her first children’s book


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

What do two cats, a mermaid and a disappearing moon have in common? They all appear (or disappear) in Pamela Knudsen’s recently launched children’s book, Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon.

Lyrical illustrations transformed two of Knudsen’s previous felines, Topper and Lexington – who coincidentally lived in Laguna – into a tale of two brothers on a journey of adventure and discovery. As described, Topper and Lexington are curious cats, but they’ve always obeyed their mother’s one rule: never leave the yard, but when the full moon vanishes from the night sky, leaving behind something strange and red in its place, Topper and Lexington leave the safety of their yard to find the missing moon somewhere in the dark. While on their quest, readers will no doubt recognize familiar places in the city.

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Pamela Knudsen recently launched her new book 

Knudsen’s love of cats started early and over the years, she has parented eight cats. Three-year-old Persian cat, Samantha Jo, who she adopted from the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, now shares Knudsen’s life and charming cottage near Boat Canyon.

As described on Knudsen’s website,, “The cats and I lived in Laguna Canyon – or to locals, simply, the “Canyon” from 2004 to the summer of 2018. Living in that rustic wonderland has gotten me more in touch with, and appreciative of our natural environment. Although I live closer to the ocean now, I’m still within walking distance to trailheads leading me back to the Canyon.”

Although this is Knudsen’s first book, she’s no newbie to writing. Her short stories and essays have been featured in several publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine and The Maine Review.

Crazy for Pam and Sam

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Knudsen adopted Samantha Jo from the LB Animal Shelter 

“The initial inspiration for Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon came one night out of the blue in 2008 when I was outside on my deck holding my cat Lexington and gazing at a gorgeous full moon, which I love to do,” she said. “It was so stunning, and then a cloud covered it. I said to Lexington, ‘where did the moon go? It disappeared!’ I thought, oh my God, there’s a story there, and I needed to get it down. Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of writing a book.” 

Born in Fontana, Calif., Knudsen grew up in Glendora and Upland. “I graduated from Upland High School and went to Chaffey Community College,” she said. “I got a job as a legal secretary when I was 21 and took a break from college then after a couple of years got a job at a title insurance company. Then at 29, I finished my AA at Orange Coast College and at 45 went to the University of La Verne to earn a BA in organizational management – while working full time. At some point, I wanted to be a journalist, but I was working full time supporting myself and couldn’t take the college courses necessary to get a communications degree as they were only offered during the day.”

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Knudsen works at her desk 

What might surprise readers is that Knudsen loves ballet and was a ballet dancer. “I was a ballet dancer with a local dance company, not professional but I danced until my 30s. 

“I came to Orange County in the 1980s, and I used to come to Laguna in the ‘90s,” she said. “I went on a date to the (former) Beach House and was just enchanted by Laguna.” 

After moving here in 2004, one day while shopping at Areo, she was drawn to the Marine Room across the street to listen to the Missiles of October on Sunday afternoons. “It was such a nice group of people, and I started to make friends and became a Sunday regular.”

Back to the book

“I seriously started writing the book in 2010 and then put it down for years, but kept wondering what was going to happen next, to the two cats in the canyon on their search to find the moon,” Knudsen said. “I was working as a paralegal and one day while drafting a legal document, the idea of a lunar eclipse suddenly came to me. What a great teaching moment if it was a lunar eclipse. The book would be a fun way to engage with children and educate at the same time.”

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For Community Services Officer Rosie Santana, becoming a handler for K-9 Cooper is a dream come true


There’s no doubt that serendipity or karma – or whatever one chooses to call it – had a hand in the ultimate partnership of Laguna Beach Police Department Community Services and Court Liaison Officer Rosie Santana and Peer Support K-9 Cooper. Their collaboration – to use a well-worn cliché – is a match made in heaven.

Unlike the other two K-9s in the LBPD, Rudy and Bear, who are trained in drug detection, locating missing and wanted people, and apprehending uncooperative individuals who pose a threat to public safety, Cooper is a peer support dog. The city and Police Chief Jeff Calvert created the program and recruited Support Dog “Cooper” to assist in employee wellness, community engagement, and to help comfort victims, witnesses and community members exposed to trauma.

For community Santana and Cooper

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Officer Santana and K-9 Cooper

Cooper, a black Labrador retriever who turns 2 tomorrow (April 5), was initially trained to be a guide dog for the blind, however, with his outgoing personality and need to say hi to everyone, Cooper had other plans in mind. His future took a new path, one that is perfectly suited to his social nature. That is when he lateraled over to the police department.

“Cooper went through basic training that ensures he has the proper manners, social skills and exposure to many types of environments that this type of work necessitates.”

To further acclimate Cooper to diverse surroundings, Santana takes him everywhere. Every day is a training moment.

Fate steps in

Born and raised in Santa Ana as the youngest of five children, Santana was always a dog lover. “I had two chihuahuas, a golden retriever and later on, a Rottweiler,” she said. 

Over two decades ago, due to past experiences with a comfort dog, Santana realized her passion was to someday become a comfort dog handler herself. Yet, the journey to this vocation was a long time coming.

For community Cooper closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Cooper is celebrating his second birthday on April 5

Previously with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Santana explained the road to fulfilling her goal, “I was there for over 10 years, and decided it was time for a change. That is when I found out the Laguna Beach Police Department was hiring. I then applied and was hired as the Community Services Officer/Court Liaison in December 2019. My position acts as the liaison between the courts and the police department. I handle subpoenas, coordinate court appearances for officers and put discovery packets together when charges are filed with the judicial system.”

How the handler position came into the mix was initiated by recently retired Animal Services Officer Dave Pietarila. “Dave spearheaded the program and was able to bring this program into fruition before he retired. It was a bittersweet moment the day he and I selected Cooper. He never imagined he was going to have the opportunity to meet this cold-nose pup before he went off to retirement. I was so happy he was able to see it to the end.” 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

 At the Remembrance Garden at the LBPD station

Work and play

Santana described her first meeting with Cooper – and the bond they immediately felt. “We absolutely clicked, and it was love at first sight. He had such a happy and sweet personality.” 

Working in law enforcement is a family affair for Cooper. His older brother K-9 Jacks is a Peer Support dog with the Irvine Police Department. 

When Cooper joined Santana’s family, their 10-year-old Chiweenie named Waffles got a little brother. “Cooper loves Waffles and they are best friends, but he also respects her space and given her age, she enjoys her alone time. He’s very protective of us and starts barking whenever he hears someone come up to the front door,” she said. “He loves to play fetch and just chill at home. He also loves it when we go on walks through our neighborhood and he sees his dog friends along the way.”

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In creating The Salt Horse, Sam Savage Breit pays homage to back-to-the-land lifestyle


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Salt Horse, a farm-to-table specialty grocery store, may be the best kept secret in Laguna, but hopefully for owner Sam Savage Breit, it won’t be much longer. Open since October 2022, it shares a building (that previously housed two plant nurseries) with Business and Pleasure. The names of both shops – Business & Pleasure (which sells unique beach accessories) and The Salt Horse – are mysterious and could represent a multitude of endeavors.

However, the focus of The Salt Horse is not at all secretive – the main goal is to serve the community by sourcing the freshest and most sustainable, nutritious, organic and seasonal produce from California family farms. At its core is a farm-to-table concept for down home living in a modern world and the celebration of the stories behind the food – the people who grew it, raised it, caught and created it. 

in creating sign and cactus

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Sam Savage Breit opened The Salt Horse in October 2022. The logo was designed by local artist Gulliver Farnan.


The name of The Salt Horse has special meaning to Breit, one that she was unaware of until she started researching the name.

“I did a search of the name to be sure it wasn’t being used anywhere else,” she said. “The salt represents the essential seasoning that can make or break a dish and salt to the earth people who I have the pleasure of working with. The horse represents the farm, the original way food was delivered, and hard- working people, which you have to be to be in this industry. I discovered that it is an Irish nautical slang for corned beef. 

“Immediately I knew this was serendipity and must be the name of my dream business. You see I was named after my grandfather, Samuel Savage, a deep sea diver from Ireland. Family is a huge inspiration for also why I founded The Salt Horse. Inspiring people to gather, tell stories and create food memories.”

in creating interior

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Hand-curated artisan goods and specialty foods. The beautiful macramé pieces hanging from the ceiling were made by local artist Jim Olarte. 

When entering The Salt Horse, it’s obvious the space is all about food – but on a deeper level – its benefits, where it came from, the story behind it, its relationship to health and well-being, how it affects the planet and how it connects families around the dinner table. 

Sounds like a lot to ask of food, but Breit breaks it down. “We are what we eat. Food affects the mind, body and mood. It either energizes or depletes,” she said. “We need to get into a ritual of recognizing the value of health and the choices we make and what are we going to grow, because we’re stripping the earth.” 

However, according to Breit, there is a solution – sourcing local markets.

“When I select a vendor, I want to make sure the farm is using organic farming practices, taking care of the environment and not spraying pesticides,” she said. “It makes a difference, and we have to be conscious of our decisions. It’s a very important question, because it affects our health and well-being. Over the years, how food is produced has drastically changed, it’s full of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Once people become educated about organic food, they can taste the difference – it’s a sensory experience.” 

The Salt Horse carries other items such as salsa, fresh goods, dips and they offer charcuterie boards.

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Breit created her dream business

Pursuing a dream

“My passion is to create a more sustainable food system for our local communities and transform the grocery business through mindful and valuable innovation,” Breit stated on her website. 

How did this vision become a reality? 

“I wondered where I was going to start my startup business,” Breit said. “I emailed Business & Pleasure and said, ‘I’m very passionate about food, I’m trying to create my dream business, can I sublease part of this beautiful building?’”

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Barbara and Greg MacGillivray: a passion for the planet, cinema and community 


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Much has been written about Barbara and Greg MacGillivray, MacGillivray Freeman Films and the couple’s philanthropic and environmental endeavors, however, there may still be a few things that might come as a surprise. 

It may not be widely known that until 2006, Barbara juggled dual careers.

In addition to her role as Director of Partner Research with the film company, she had a long career as a licensed clinical psychologist. With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Barbara worked for 25 years in Children, Youth Services for the Orange County Health Care Agency. 

“Over the years, they kindly accommodated me and had someone take over my clients so I could travel to film locations,” she said. “They also accommodated my bringing to the office both Corgis we had over those years which the kids loved. I retired in 2006 in order to work full time at our film office on our new campaign, ‘One World One Ocean’ dedicated to making films to raise awareness about the importance of the ocean and working to protect it.”

Barbara and couple closeup

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The MacGillivrays met at Newport Harbor High School

One wonders what other career path Greg might have chosen if he hadn’t gone into the film industry. 

“Physics, math and architecture have always fascinated me,” was his immediate answer. 


In fact, it was math that brought the couple together. Born in Washington D.C. at a Naval Reserve Hospital, Barbara’s family came to Newport Beach when she was a high school freshman. 

“I was 14 years old, and I met Greg in an accelerated math class at Newport Harbor High School,” she said. 

“Barbara was the only girl in the class who was pretty and athletic but also smart,” Greg said. (And wildly adventurous as he would later find out.) So, he did what any boy would do in that situation. “I sat behind her desk and pulled her hair to get her to notice me.”

 “I eventually asked him to the Sadie Hawkins girl-ask-boy dance, and we started dating,” Barbara said. She also sold tickets at his first surfing movie. “When I went back to the East Coast to go to Cornell University, we stayed in contact. Then we really reconnected when I began my Ph.D. studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. As luck would have it, he was planning on showing his new surfing film in Santa Cruz at the same time that I needed to drive up, so we drove up together and have been solidly together ever since.”

Turns out she’s very good at math, “My father was a scientist, an electrical engineer/physicist and worked on developing the atomic bomb during WWII. I used to call him from college to help me with calculus and I ended up getting an A+.” 

“The guy was a genius,” Greg added. “He worked for Ford Aeronutronics and had a vast collection of electronic engineering magazines as well as fascinating stories about testing the first atomic bomb on the island of Enewetok.” 

Barbara and surfboards

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Surfboards at the beachfront home they have lived in since 1973 

Greg was born in a San Diego Naval Hospital. His dad was a summer lifeguard, high school woodshop teacher and then a builder of custom homes. The MacGillivray family lived in Corona del Mar and at 12, Greg learned to surf at Little Corona. At 13, his life changed forever when his parents used three Green Stamp books to “buy” him a Brownie 8mm movie camera.

“In 1963, I went to the University of Santa Barbara, started a surf club and was working on my first surf film when I met Jim Freeman, who would become my partner for 12 years,” said Greg. “I was trying to finish my film and this guy (Jim) was at a screening of his 3D surfing film, Outside the Third Dimension. He was narrating it because he didn’t have enough money to put a soundtrack to it. There was one sequence in the film with dune buggies that was beautifully photographed, it was like Lawrence of Arabia with dune buggies. We exchanged numbers.” 

At the time, Greg explained that he was living in a dorm that was actually an old Quonset hut with about 50 other guys. “It was the best place. There was another Quonset hut across the way that housed 50 girls, and we got to know all of them and showed surfing films at the mixers. It helped with the films – we found out where they laughed and where they got bored.” 

Barbara and staircase

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Staircase carved by Jon Seeman

In November 1963, while Greg was finishing the first film, President Kennedy was shot. “You learn life fast when something like that happens,” he said. “I kept wondering ‘why I am so sad?’ It was an interesting time for everyone. We had started out only three months ago as freshmen and were beginning a new life. It was a pivotal moment that shaped everything.”

Greg said working with Freeman was like spending six months at film school. “I learned a lot about film from Jim and I finished my movie and did one more after that. Then we teamed up and made three surfing films together [Free and Easy, Waves of Change and Five Summer Stories]. We spent three months filming in South America going from country to country, finishing in Hawaii.”

In 1966, they founded MacGillivray Freeman Films and their first office space was in the old Pyne Castle in Laguna, now called the Villa Bella.

In the mid-1970s, they turned their attention to Hollywood and commercial films. But, a 1976 request from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum to create the first film for its five-story-tall IMAX® theater, changed the trajectory of the company again.

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A dog’s life, but not just any dog: Laguna Beach Police Department’s K-9 Rudy 


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

A catchphrase supposedly attributed to the 1951 television police show Dragnet – “just the facts, ma’am,” applies to the Laguna Beach Police Department’s K-9 Rudy and his handler Corporal Thomas McGuire. Both take their jobs very seriously, and the Q&A style used to question witnesses seems tailor-made for their story only the “bare bones” facts. 

a dogs closeup McGuire

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Corporal Thomas McGuire

History of K-9s

For more than 100 years, law enforcement across the world has utilized the skills and agility of canines through police K-9 units. The skills military dogs used back in the day are similar to the skills dogs learn in law enforcement today, as they can undergo K-9 training for everything from bomb detection to patrol.

In 1888: The first uses of police dogs can be traced back to the British, who used bloodhounds’ amazing sense of smell to search for Jack the Ripper.

In 1899: In Belgium, police started the formal K-9 training process for law enforcement dogs. 

a dogs training at Susi Q

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Cpl. McGuire and Rudy training 

In addition to the skills needed for apprehending uncooperative individuals, the new K-9s (there are now two in enforcement) are trained in narcotics searches, locating missing people and helping officers encourage intoxicated people to comply with directions. It’s a big job and Rudy and Cpl. McGuire are most certainly up to the task.

A trio of K-9s

K-9 Rudy was introduced to the LBPD in June 2022. Laguna Beach had been without a K-9 officer for a year since Ranger, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, was humanely euthanized in June 2021, due to a long bout with cancer.

With the help of generous donors, in December 2021, the LBPD restarted their K-9 program. The Offield Family Foundation donated $75,433 and pledged another $44,207 in the first quarter of 2020. The Crevier Family Foundation and Bob and Bobi Roper have each donated $13,320 as well. 

a dogs Rudys closeup

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Rudy is ready for his closeup 

In December 2022, the LBPD welcomed its newest staff member, Support Service K-9 “Cooper.” His handler is Community Services Officer Rosie Santana. His training and personality comfort those exposed to trauma, help ease the stress victims and witnesses feel during criminal investigations and promote employee wellness. 

In January of this year, the LBPD added a second patrol K-9 “Bear.” Bear’s handler is Cpl. Priscilla Angeloni and he joins K-9 Rudy in protecting the community. For the first time, the department will have two K-9 enforcement teams providing coverage seven days a week.

Corporal McGuire and Rudy

Corporal McGuire has been working for the Laguna Beach Police Department for nine years. He started as a Police Aide in July 2013 and became a Police Officer in September 2014. McGuire also served as a detective from October 2019 through January 2021 and was promoted to Corporal in November 2020. He became the K-9 Officer in March 2022.

a dogs best friends

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A close bond 

Rudy is a Belgian Malinois, a breed frequently selected for K-9 dogs, and, along with Cpl. McGuire, he went through extensive tactical training at Adlerhorst International. Since 1976, Adlerhorst International has provided quality Police Service Dogs to more than 500 law enforcement agencies in the United States and several foreign countries. They have evolved into being one of the largest private Police Dog Schools in the world and have introduced many theories and techniques that are considered state-of-the-art todayAccording to, a Belgian Malinois is often used by police officers, who work in airports, train and subway stations, because he has perfect scent. His keen nose is able to find drugs and bombs, when trained to do so. He can easily smell and identify scents, because of his high level of “sniffling” drive.

a dogs waiting for a command

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Waiting for a command

Stu News: How long have you been with the Laguna Beach Police Department?

Cpl. McGuire: Nine years.

SN: What is your background?

Cpl. M: I have previously worked as a Detective and one of our department’s Drug Recognition Experts. 

SN: Have you always been a dog/animal person?

Cpl. M: Yes.

SN: Have you always wanted to be a K-9 handler? 

Cpl. M. Yes. 

SN: How does an officer become a K-9 handler? 

Cpl. M: I spent five or six years decoying for Sgt. Zachary Fillers and K-9 Ranger.

SN: Is this the first time you’ve worked with a K-9 dog? 

Cpl. M: Yes.

SN: Did you have an immediate connection with Rudy?

Cpl. M: Yes.

SN: How did his name come about?

Cpl. M: He came from Europe with his name.

a dogs looking at McGuire

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Cpl. McGuire and Rudy continue to train once a week with other K-9 units 

SN: Describe his training. 

Cpl. M: We spent six weeks training at Adlerhorst International in Jurupa Valley to become certified for patrol. We train once a week with other K-9 units from neighboring cities.

SN: What does Rudy like to do when he’s off duty, for fun?

Cpl. M: Running around the backyard with our other dog, a black lab. 

SN: What’s a typical day for you and Rudy? 

Cpl. M: We are assigned to patrol, so we train together in between responding to calls for service.

SN: What was Rudy’s last big assignment?

Cpl. M: Rudy was on scene to assist with a barricaded attempted murder suspect in September. He regularly assists on building searches, stolen vehicle investigations and other serious offenses.

However intense his day job, just like any other dog, Rudy has a favorite treat – his chew toys.

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Shelley Arends and Kelly Cornwell marry old and new in updating historic Spigot Liquor


Kelly Cornwell and Shelley Arends, the husband-and-wife team behind the transformation of Spigot Liquor, have lived three blocks from the historic store for 37 years. Before they bought the business in December 2021, it had sadly become an eyesore – with windows boarded up and pornography covering the Pearl Street window. 

“It was in a state of neglect and a blight on the neighborhood, but we never intended to be liquor store owners,” said Cornwell. “We heard it was up for sale and decided to purchase it and put a sandwich shop next door. We wanted to revitalize the corner.”

  Shelley Arends closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Kelly Cornwell and Shelley Arends

“Many people didn’t want to go into the store. By refreshing it, we wanted it to become a neighborhood store and part of the community,” Arends said. 

“Previously, only about 10% of the clientele were women, now it’s 50% and moms come in with their kids,” Cornwell said.

As the longest continuous running business in Laguna Beach, Spigot Liquor has an interesting and checkered past. It opened on October 1, 1933, two months before Prohibition was repealed on December 4 of that year. Originally a bottle shop, customers came in to refill their jugs from a barrel, hence the name Spigot Liquor. Ahead of its time, it was the first business in California to have stereophonic sound. A popular urban legend is that in the 1930s, they distilled their own liquor, carried it down to Pearl Street beach and loaded it onto boats destined for Santa Monica.

Shelley Arends historic spigot

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Courtesy of Kelly Cornwell

Spigot Liquor in the old days

Interesting facts: 1950 was the last time the store was robbed. “We installed security cameras,” Cornwell said. “The police used the footage to solve a hit and run in front of the store a while back.” They now have metal screens that roll down at night.

The Quonset hut behind the store was used to house World War II servicemen and many of their names are carved on the inside wall where the bunks were stacked.

“Spigot was owned by the Ware Family, who live in Riverside. We purchased the business, but they still own the property,” Cornwell said. “They were delighted.” The Ware family also owns Sea Horse, residential properties in Laguna and Bev Mo in Dana Point.

A family affair

Thirty-seven years ago, Arends and Cornwell ended up in Laguna due to a real estate upswing in Hacienda Heights. “Our property value doubled and we decided to sell. We looked around everywhere between here and L.A., and we fell in love with Laguna,” Cornwell said. “For 15 years, I drove to L.A. for work, five days a week, sometimes six, but it was worth it.”

Shelley Arends exterior

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Spigot Liquor 2023

They each brought a specific talent to the store update. Arends has a background in marketing (she owned Rhythmride, Laguna Soup Co., Laguna Magical Cottages and is the founder of beachBRELLA). Cornwell has a background in logistics and retired six years ago from UPS. They worked together to make Spigot Liquor a sought-after place for both locals and visitors.

Sometime in the spring, Arends and Cornwell’s son Zac, a certified financial planner, will launch Wigz, a sandwich deli restaurant in the existing retail space next door. Why the name Wigz? “The space was occupied by Charles Wigs,” Arends said. It was established in 1965. Wigz will have outdoor dining both in the front and the back, a hidden and enchanting area that will be a beer garden. 

Their other son, Zane, lives in Boise, Idaho, and is working to get his commercial pilot’s license.

Shelley Arends spigot

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Woodworker Roger Taft made a new spigot for the barrel. It had been missing for decades. 

Exterior and interior 

“A local woodworker Roger Taft crafted a spigot, which has been missing for decades, for the original barrel above the entrance and donated it,” Cornwell said. “The original exterior pecking wood was retained and windows of the era (which were previously hidden by wood) were uncovered above the door to Wigz.

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Laguna Logo 2022

Mayor Bob Whalen energized about 2023 as he begins his fifth term


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The last time Stu News featured an in-depth conversation with Mayor Bob Whalen, it was January 2017. A lot has happened since then. (Stu News caught up with him again earlier this month as he traveled with his wife Kirsten to visit family in Northern California.) 

Whalen was elected to the Laguna Beach City Council in November 2012, and has served four terms as mayor, first in 2015, and again concurrently in 2019, 2020 and 2021. His current term runs until December 2024.

As he embarks on his fifth term as mayor, some priorities remain the same and – as would be expected – others are entirely new.

“Each term is different,” Whalen said. “It is driven by the issues the city faces. In 2020 and 2021, we were driven by the pandemic, which was unforeseen. Early in 2020, no one then suspected we’d have months and months of the pandemic. However, in retrospect, I’m very proud of how, as a city, we responded.”

Whalen referenced the OC Register report that Laguna Beach had one of the lowest cases of COVID per capita in the county, which he attributes to early and proactive response. 

Unless one has a reliable crystal ball, looking ahead to what 2023 and 2024 hold remains a mystery.

“Each term brings new challenges – some are known and some we’re not aware of yet,” he said.

Mayor Bob closeup

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Bob Whalen begins his fifth term as mayor

Public safety and arts still top priorities

At the time the 2017 article was written, Whalen’s focus was on public safety and the arts, and little has changed in that regard. “Public safety is always our top priority,” he said. “In 2019, we were able to complete the Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Report. Thirty-six action items were recommended and carried out. Providing dollars for fire safety is always at the top of the list.”

Undergrounding utilities on Laguna Canyon Road continues to be a passion for Whalen.

“For 10 years, we’ve been working on undergrounding utilities and getting bike lanes, pedestrian pathways and road safety improvements,” Whalen said. “We made progress last year. We are still pushing it, but it is an uphill battle. Our recent $35M grant application to FEMA was rejected by CalOES because Southern California Edison would not commit to a specific cost-sharing dollar amount for the project, even though the city and Edison had agreed to match the grant by a shared percentage. We have another opportunity for grant submittal in December 2023, and we will be working with SCE and Senator David Min to hopefully get this to the finish line. Public safety is of utmost concern.

“Also in 2016, we increased the hotel bed tax by 2% to create a revenue stream to fund a number of public safety programs. It has generated $10-15 million and will continue to generate funds. Our most important asset is our people, and as one of our first actions this year, the City Council unanimously approved a new wage and benefit contract with our Police Department. At its core, the agreement is about supporting public safety, and offering the Police Officers and other employees in our Police Department a compensation package that reflects their level of dedication and commitment to this community. I’d like to thank our city negotiating team, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis and the Police Employees Association for diligently working together toward an agreement that is strongly supported by our police employees and offers them the elevated compensation and quality of life enhancements they deserve.” 

Home is where the art is

Whalen’s passion for the arts strikes very close to home. Kirsten is a long-time (14 years) Festival of Arts exhibitor and graduated from LCAD. “She loves the Festival and living in Laguna,” Whalen said. “She’s busy with art and enjoying time with our grandchildren.”

Mayor Bob in City Hall

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Whalen’s home away from home 

“The arts and its rich history, continue to be an important part of our culture and the city strongly supports our vibrant arts community,” Whalen said. “The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance is a membership organization of about 25 cultural arts organizations based and working within the city.”

The Arts Alliance publishes the quarterly City Cultural Calendar, supports collaboration and networking, and serves as an advocate for the arts and to ensure the inclusion of the arts in all city planning. 

“The Arts Alliance is really a key part of our community,” Whalen said. “The acquisition of the property at 30516 S. Coast Highway (formerly St. Catherine of Siena School) is an opportunity to provide more opportunities for the arts programs and the focus is on how it will benefit the community. We’ll have three public open houses and public tours available in February and look forward to hearing from the community on use preferences during the coming months.”

And there is something new on the horizon for the council.

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Laguna Logo 2022

Shelton Taylor and Scotty Wise make history with Club 222 by bringing ‘80s dance parties back to Laguna


Picture this – an over-21 crowd waiting in a line all the way down the block just to get into a dance venue – a scenario reminiscent of the infamous Studio 54 in the ‘70s and ‘80s. However, this particular crowd is anticipating entry into Sueños on Ocean Avenue for the inaugural event of Club 222 on August 12, 2022.

“Passionate” may be an overused word, but Laguna residents and brothers Shelton Taylor and Scotty Wise are nothing short of fervent about their new endeavor. As founders of Club 222, their spirited and heartfelt vision in bringing the dance scene back to Laguna materialized last year. Their business has gained momentum during the ensuing months by expanding to three venues. 

shelton taylor outside Suenos

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(L-R) Brothers Scotty Wise and Shelton Taylor in front of Sueños on Ocean Avenue. Wise is wearing a shirt designed by Michele Lantz.

“The first event was crazy,” Taylor said. “There were around 1,000 people, and a line all the way to the Union Bank sign.” 

There’s no doubt that 22-year-old Taylor, who is a musician, and 24-year-old Wise, a photographer, have the brains, talent and confidence to not only bring the vision to fruition, but to continue to grow their original model. However, their concept encompasses more than music and dance. Of course, they want to succeed and make people happy, but their larger vision is to blend art and music into unique and varied experiences.

shelton taylor closeup Scotty

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Photographer Scotty Wise 

It all started with the spark of an idea.

For two and a half years, Taylor played in every restaurant in town (and in Los Angeles) including Sueños. “I’d been bugging Sueños to consider the idea of an after-hours spot. I didn’t understand why, if people love live music, the restaurant would be closing at 9 or 10 p.m. They finally said, ‘yes.’”

With the approval to go ahead, Taylor brought in Wise and Club 222 was formed.

“The first thing I did was call Scotty because of his personality,” Taylor said. “He’s a people person and would be the face of 222 and run the door. It was divine timing. So I said, ‘let’s try it out,’ but it wasn’t until two weeks prior to the first event that we started asking artists.”

Before that time, their sole venture had been a silent disco at Helen’s, a speakeasy bar in South Laguna. “It’s Laguna’s best kept secret,” Wise said.

Truly the face of 222, Wise said, “I go person to person and do ground marketing. I go to every business and to city staff and personnel and introduce myself.” 

“Being a musician and living in Laguna, it’s so high end, musicians can’t play on the street anymore,” Taylor said. “This business is an artist’s vision. Over the past two to three years, I’ve played in every restaurant, venue and on every street corner in Laguna. I know all the locals from playing. I love art and the beauty that is natural to this place. However, there seems to be a war between art and commercialism, seeing art as an investment versus art (for its own sake). The solution would be to have venues to showcase them, so if you want to do art, you have a fair chance. So far, everyone appears to be receptive.”

shelton taylor crowd opening

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Opening night crowd in August 2022 

“The model for Club 222 is to not only bring energy back to Laguna Beach, but also maintain consistency, so we’ll be around forever,” Wise said.

The brothers’ collaboration is a perfect match. 

Taylor handles the business side. “An artist can still be a businessman,” he said. According to Taylor, “As the face of 222, Scotty can do exactly what he loves to do – dance, take photos and talk to people. He’s a celebrity photographer. At one point, almost every night, he was up in Hollywood meeting celebrities and staying at their houses. He’s part of the L.A. night scene.”


Nowhere in their background was there a foreshadowing of the possibilities to come – in fact, just the opposite. Along with six younger siblings, Wise and Taylor were raised in a religious cult in the hills of Texas and every element of what they’re involved in now was forbidden by the cult.

“We broke free and came to a judgment-free zone that wasn’t like our past,” Taylor said. “Around five years ago, at the age of 17, I had already left home and headed for California. I came here to figure it out, and I was crashing on people’s couches, and then connections landed me in line for American Idol in LA. Then Scotty came out here.”

shelton taylor closeup taylor

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

 Musician Shelton Taylor has been playing around town for several years

Taylor made it to the top 20 in American Idol.

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