Beauty in nature

Beauty in bird

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Resting hummingbird

Beauty in flowers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Bird of Paradise in the rain


Lagunans suggest books to pique the imagination and escape our current reality

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Many of us have read books voraciously over the years to cope with unhappy childhoods, everyday calamities, or simply to escape the quotidian. We read for sheer entertainment, laughing or crying with imaginary characters (who said adults can’t have imaginary friends?), or to learn about fascinating worlds very different from ours. (Try Spineless, by Juli Berwald, which is all about jellyfish.)

But never has there been a time when reading has been quite so important for our mental health – well, reading and streaming TV shows, admittedly.

So I thought it would be interesting to find out what books Lagunans might recommend during these isolating times.

Seeking horror or hilarity? Here are some choices

Seems like there are two camps: Those who are reading dystopian novels, perhaps hoping that by contemplating those scenarios, our current situation will pale by comparison – and those who are diving into escapist literature.

Me, I’m in the latter camp. I’ll be sticking to murder mysteries with interesting characters along with humorous books for the next couple of weeks, unless I hear of literary fiction that is utterly absorbing – which could happen.

I may even reread some great favorites: all of Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves books, Three Men in a Boat, and Rachel Cusk’s This Country Life

lagunans suggest roz

And I just ordered a book from Laguna Beach Books that could be the most valuable of all. Written by Patricia Marx and illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, it’s a comic look at the challenges many of us encounter living with our partners. Its title is You can only yell at me about one thing at a time: Rules for Couples. 

Bill and I are used to both being at home working, so we should be okay…but still…

Apparently some of the book’s finest lines include this one: 

If you must breathe, don’t breathe so loudly. 

I’m sure many of us can relate in this time of enforced closeness at home and social distancing beyond our front doors.

Stu News writer Marrie Stone, who is also host of the KUCI radio show Writers on Writing, admits to a taste for the dystopian, The Road by Cormac McCarthy being one of her favorites. She suggests Apeirogon by Colum McCann – “loved it” – and Alexander Weinstein’s Universal Love, short stories focused on a cybernetic future. 

Marrie also recommends Resisters by Gish Jen and, although she hasn’t read it yet, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. “People rave about it,” Marrie says.

lagunans suggest resisters

Associate editor Dianne Russell says nonfiction is it for her at the moment. “My book club loved The Library, by Susan Orlean,” she says. “It’s not always that we all agree, so this was rare!”

Suzanne Redfearn, local best-selling author, loves the novel Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, a book that tells the story of a young boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. I suspect it has themes in common with Suzanne’s latest novel, In an Instant, which is narrated by the survivor of a car crash. Here’s how the publisher describes Suzanne’s book: “Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.”

On the less intense side, here are some other reading recommendations from locals:

Denise Topaz suggests The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine. “I read it recently and I loved it.”

lagunans suggest long

Paula Olson of Laguna Canyon Foundation is enjoying The Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende. “I’m obsessed with Spain’s history and culture,” she says. “This book has history, characters the reader cares about, and poetry.”

Elaine Rubenstein of Canyon Acres has just finished reading Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House. “I recommend it highly, especially to anyone who’s had a close relationship with a sibling. Another standout book for me this year was Elizabeth Strout’s Anything Is Possible. It just struck a chord.”

A couple of other local authors to consider: Randy Kraft has published a book of short stories entitled Rational Women, available at LB Books, as are most of the books mentioned in this article. (See the article in this issue about LB Books offering deliveries and pick-ups of your favorite reading materials.)

And if you’re a writer looking for advice, or simply fascinated by the quirks of the English language, think about buying Rebecca Lyles’s From the Errors of Others, available on Amazon.com and BN.com. It’s fun, I can attest.

Happy reading! Oh – and perhaps “March into Christmas” as suggested by Chamber of Commerce CEO Paula Hornbuckle. In other words, why not buy books and gift certificates now, when your order can help small businesses succeed – with the added advantage of beating the Christmas rush!


Peaceful pleasures 

Peaceful pleasures beach

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

Longing for the serenity to return


No exit

No exit signs

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Better to just stay home


Cloud battle

Cloud battle gods

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Dark clouds take the form of Greek gods fighting to the death


Participation in the 2020 Census is critical, Laguna’s response rate is currently low

It’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2: The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. However, this time around, the 2020 Decennial Census might be taking a backseat to the COVID-19. The deadline to participate is August 14, 2020. 

The Census Bureau’s Campaign Manager for Laguna Beach Fay Hezar has indicated that to date, the rate of response in Laguna has been extremely low.

The participation is below the rest of Orange County and especially in a couple of census tracts. National Self-Response: 46.2 percent; California: 46.1 percent; OC: 52.5 percent; Laguna Beach: 42 percent.

The 2020 Census will influence community funding and congressional representation for the next decade. Information collected in the census will inform the allocation of more than $675 billion in federal funds for states and communities each year.

The most important reasons to participate are: 

--$800 billion in federal government money will be distributed based on census data.

--How many congressional seats each states receive is based on population count. Based on census data is 2010, Texas gained four congressional seats, and New York and Ohio each lost two seats.

Participation in the 2020

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Chart showing percentage of response in Laguna

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. 

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. These official Census Bureau mailings included detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online. 

In addition to an invitation to respond, some households received a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the Census form). All the answers to questions about how to respond by mail, online, or by phone are answered on 2020census.gov

The Census Bureau asks that readers not only respond to the questionnaire but encourage others to do so as well. 

To complete your 2020 Census, go to 2020census.gov.


Free “It’s Your Money” virtual financial series begins April 24

Financial planning is critical to ensure that you can live comfortably with confidence, provide for the people you love, and leave a lasting legacy. Beginning Friday, April 24, Laguna Beach Seniors will host a virtual “It’s Your Money” series to help you do just that. The award-winning series is free and will last eight weeks.

Peter Kote, founder of Financial and Estate Literacy – a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help individuals with their financial and estate’s charitable decisions – will moderate the workshop sessions along with Don Vivrette. Together, they have have assembled a team of skilled presenters.

Free It's Peter

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Peter Kote will moderate free “It’s Your Money” virtual financial series

This popular, annual series will address the current COVID-19 health crisis and provide attendees with educational and practical solutions so they can ask questions and get advice on managing their money during uncertain times.

The workshop series will feature multiple volunteer instructors who are experts in the financial field and are all fee-only, fiduciary registered investment advisors who do not sell anything on commission and do not sell insurance.

Topics and speakers are:

--April 24: “Money Test & Tax Update” by Peter Kote and Don Vivrette

--May 1: “Sales of Annuities & Mutual Funds” by Neal Rutter and Peter Kote

--May 8: “Financial Planning I – Why & Goals” by Gina Chironis

--May 15: “Financial Planning II – Investing” by Gina Chironis

--May 22: “Medical Care Planning” by Lee Ann Godfrey

--May 29: “Fixed Income Investing” by Kurt Beimfohr

--June 5: “Equity Investing” by Laura Tarbox

--June 12: “Money and Your Mind” by Meghan Coolbaugh

In order to participate, contact Christine Brewer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and be sure to include your name, address, email address, and phone number.

For questions about the workshop series, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Visit www.itsyourmoneyandestate.org for more information.


Laguna strikes back

By BARBARA DIAMOND

COVID-19 has stricken the residents and workers of Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach is striking back.

A group of locals have come together to provide help and hope to those stricken, just as similar groups did after the fire in 1993, the floods of 1995, and the Bluebird Canyon landslide in 2005.

“I was sitting around a couple of weeks ago thinking about who would be interested in helping out,” said Bob Mister, one of the organizers of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. 

The first name that popped up in his mind was Ed Sauls, who had helped organize along with Marsha Bode and Sande St. John, among others, the Laguna Beach Relief and Resource Center after the ‘93 fire.

Sauls serves with Mister as co-chair of the COVID-19 Relief Fund Advisors, which also includes El Hathaway and Jon Moore.

The fund will operate in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach, which will accept applications for grants and issue gift cards, checks, or direct payments, depending on the needs of the applicant. 

“Our mission is to help our neighbors in need as we take on the challenges of COVID-19,” said Mister. 

The fund will focus on providing immediate financial aid to those who live or work in Laguna Beach, with emphasis on those in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, and personal services industries. 

Emergency Assistance Mini-Grants will be awarded to applicants consistent with the mission and focus of the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund. Applications will be reviewed by the LBCF COVID-19 Fund Advisors and Community Committee. Grants will be awarded to support those most affected and in need. 

Applications for grants were made as simple as possible and no fees will be charged, Mister said. An anonymous donor is picking up the tab for administrative costs.

Up to a maximum of $1,000 per household may be awarded (subject to availability).

The public is invited to participate in the relief effort. Every donation is valued regardless of amount. 

“We want the whole community involved,” said Mister. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to: 

LBCF Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund 

Address: 580 Broadway St, Suite 204, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 

Telephone: (949) 637-3357 (Bob Mister) 

For wire transfer instructions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Davis is the chair of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, which merged with the county foundation, but retained its 501(c)(3) status. He is serving on the LBCF COVID-19 Community Committee. 

The committee (as of April 17) includes Nicole Anderson, NextGen representative, estate planning attorney; Anne Belyea, Laguna Food Pantry representative; Sande St. John, community volunteer; Jon Moore, volunteer, minister, art community and ecumenical community outreach; Cary Redfearn, restaurant owner; Diane Armitage, Best of Laguna Beach; John Leonti, representative member of Laguna Presbyterian Church; Mark Christy, business owner; Kathleen Abel, community activist and volunteer; Meghan MacGillivray Weil, filmmaker; Greg Mech and Jim Fletcher, both LBCF trustees and investment advisors.

Applications for a Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund Emergency Assistance Mini-Grant may be obtained as follows:

--Request by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

--Request by mail to Tom Davis at 580 Broadway St, Suite 204, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

--Or by picking one up at the Boys & Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach (at the front door).

This week, there will be a COVID-19 Relief Fund staff person available at the Boys & Girls Club at 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd as follows: Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. bilingual English/Spanish; Wednesday from 12 to 5 p.m.; and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

May 1, 2020

If you like your weather violent, visit Oklahoma in May

Dennis 5It’s pretty much standard conditions here with cloudy mornings, sunny afternoons for the most part, and temps at or near the normal to date of 70. Nights are mild with temps around 60. 

It’s a different story far inland as Palm Springs set a high temp record for April with 106, more typical of mid-June.

Here in May the daily weather can almost be carbon copy stuff for weeks on end with little deviation in the conditions. You want some explosive weather? Spend a week or two in Oklahoma in May like I’ll do on occasions and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 

As you probably know by now, I’m totally infatuated with the explosive power of a supercell thunderstorm and its ensuing bag of tricks including intense lightning and thunder, large hail, torrential cloudbursts, and tornadoes. What I don’t like is the occasionally destructive nature of these storms. 

Here on the Pacific West Coast our atmosphere doesn’t carry the dynamics required to produce such storms. Laguna, for instance, averages only about six thunderstorms a year and they’re usually fairly short-lived, around a half hour or so. Cumulonimbus cloud tops extend upwards of maybe 20-25 thousand feet at the most, so updrafts and downdrafts are not nearly as extreme as the storms found east of the Continental Divide. Oklahoma is the prime target for violent storms in May, when some cloud tops can reach upwards of 50,000 and even 60,000 feet above the ground, with updrafts and downdrafts attaining speeds of well over 100 mph!

You don’t even have to chase such storms all over the Southern Plains this time of year. Oklahoma averages two to three such events per week in May. Just wait a few days at the most and they will come to you. 

When I go there, I have a place to stay in Norman, Oklahoma, home of the NOAA’s Severe Storm Center a few miles south of Oklahoma City. I have a weather buddy who recently retired from the facility, so I stay at his and his wife’s house in Norman, so I don’t have to shell out money to stay at a hotel. Their kids are all grown up and have their own lives so I get to camp out in one of their bedrooms. I give them money for food so it’s all good. 

I was there in 2013 for a week and I didn’t have to wait long for dramatic weather. The first day I was there it was sunny, warm, and calm, but the very next day all hell broke loose. That morning was mellow, but a quick look at the Doppler showed things were going to change in a heartbeat. 

By early afternoon a tornado warning was issued for all of Central Oklahoma with baseball-sized hail and two inches of rain per hour! Within minutes the giant supercell was on us as it felt as though it was almost night, the sky was so dark, and it was only three in the afternoon. Sure enough, a 1.5-mile-wide monster swept through only two miles south of us. We were okay, but in Moore, Oklahoma, it was a different story as the EF-5 monster took the lives of 14 schoolchildren. Violent storm observation isn’t fun anymore when stuff like that happens. 

At one point that very same tornado had its way with a small community west of Oklahoma City. It was the widest tornado ever recorded at an astounding 2.6 miles wide and this twister took the lives of four professional Storm Chasers when it suddenly shifted direction and it became the chaser. Heavy stuff. 

This weather is so fascinating, but on the other hand deadly when it hits a populated area like Reno or Moore. In Oklahoma, storm shelters are mandatory nowadays as this stuff happens like clockwork every year at some point. To this day, however, I experience the rush of a lifetime when I’m there. 

Have a wonderful weekend, ALOHA!


Spotlight on Seniors

By Laguna Beach Seniors at The Susi Q

This is the second of a new bi-monthly column highlighting the achievements of the 55-year-plus residents of Laguna Beach as well as opportunities for enrichment, education, and resources. Please send your thoughts about people or topics you’d like to read about to Jo Ann Ekblad This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kathleen Bowen’s inner artist emerged in her mid-sixties – and Gallery Q has helped her flourish

During her childhood growing up on a ranch in South Dakota, Kathleen Bowen had no idea that in her mid-sixties she’d discover a talent for art – or that painting would prove to be the balm she needed to soothe her aching soul following the devastation of a life-threatening illness.

“I’d been forced by my illness to retire from my career as an interior designer, and I felt lost, damaged,” Kathleen says. “Then, one day, walking in Orange, about four years ago, I saw a sign on a door that said ‘art classes.’ I hesitated.”

Then she remembered one of her mother’s favorite sayings: You have to have some gumption.

So Kathleen, exhausted though she was, found the gumption to walk in the door and sign up. 

spotlight on kathleen

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Kathleen with one of her landscapes

“The truth is I nearly gave up several times,” Kathleen admits. “I didn’t think I’d ever be good enough. Still, I continued trying to get better.”

The breakthrough came when Kathleen took classes with San Clemente artist Susan Winslow.

“Susan was so encouraging, and she was the first to say to me, ‘you’re pretty good!’ She told me to ‘paint what you see, not what you know.’ Another teacher said, ‘paint like you mean it.” Those two quotes have stayed with me and I think of them every time I start a painting.”

A member of LOCA, Kathleen was encouraged to submit one of her paintings for display at a joint exhibition held by LOCA and Gallery Q at The Susi Q. 

Not only was her painting of horses in motion, titled Together as One, selected to be part of the exhibition, she sold the piece, surprising herself – but not the Susi Q staff, who loved her work. Then a second painting exhibited at Gallery Q sold.

“I was stunned,” the humble artist says. “My neighbor had been the first to buy one of my paintings, but I’d convinced myself he was just trying to be nice. Selling through Gallery Q gave a huge boost to my confidence.”

spotlight on horses

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“Together as One” – exhibited and sold at Gallery Q

Kathleen adores The Susi Q, where Gallery Q is located. 

“The minute I walked in there, I felt so much at home. The staff and volunteers are so warm and welcoming. 

“Judy [Baker, Gallery Q Art Coordinator] and Martha [Hernandez, Director of Care Management] encouraged me to apply to the Art-A-Fair. So I did and I was thrilled to be accepted. 

“That led to being included in a show at the CAP Gallery also. Exhibiting at Gallery Q has really opened doors for me.” 

A watercolorist, Kathleen says the medium suits her beautifully. “Of course you have to be very careful with technique, but somehow the painting seems to create itself. 

“I paint what appeals to me emotionally and visually, then I ask myself how I would go about painting it with meaningful brush strokes of color and style.

“Also, watercolors don’t demand a lot of supplies, which is good for those of us with very limited space.”

spotlight on flowers

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“Golden Roses,” exhibited at the Art-A-Fair

Kathleen says she’s still amazed at how her desire to paint manifested itself in the midst of a very difficult time for her. 

But perhaps innate talent, like character, has a way of emerging during distressing times, serving us well when we need it most.

Of course, Kathleen’s career working on interior design projects for national and international clients, and her skill in choosing the right colors, materials, and textures to enhance spaces, have served her well in her new profession as a watercolor artist.

And looking back, Kathleen believes that her talent probably has genetic roots too.

“I realize now how creative both my parents were,” says Kathleen. “My mother loved to stencil dishtowels, and my father was good with colors.

“Funny story – when my mother saw that I’d incorporated aqua, gold, and red into one of my design projects, she told me that my dad had proposed exactly those colors for their kitchen. She was horrified at first, but she said it turned out great!”

Kathleen adores Laguna Beach. 

“People here are not pretentious, they are so kind and welcoming. It’s a wonderful town, and blessed to have a treasure like The Susi Q,” she adds. “Gallery Q was truly a godsend for me. Exhibiting there literally changed my life.”

Gallery Q, located in The Susi Q Senior Center, 380 Third St, is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the talent of emerging, semi-professional, and professional artists of all ages in Orange County. 

For now, Gallery Q at The Susi Q is going virtual, providing a way for artists to share their work with the public. Submission guidelines for the show can be found at www.thesusiq.org, or call (949) 715-8106 for more information.

spotlight on susi

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The Susi Q building is closed, but “The Susi Q Without Walls” continues to offer classes, clubs, and support for the over-55 crowd

How to cope when your loved one has memory problems

Last year, Lagunan Claire Dinesen* contacted The Susi Q’s Feeling the Blues program, emotionally and physically exhausted after waiting hand and foot on her husband following his serious back surgery. 

But it wasn’t the caretaking that finally sent her over the edge. It was her husband’s tendency to repeat himself again and again, asking questions to which she’d already replied several times.

“I knew it wasn’t his fault, because it was – and is – probably the result of a stroke he had several years ago along with the forgetfulness that comes with aging, plus he’s a bit hard of hearing, but still, it’s so hard to stay patient,” Claire says. “You start feeling like a shrew after saying ‘you just said that’ so many times. 

“It’s difficult to remain patient and not blurt out ‘Don’t you remember I told you that five minutes ago?’

“I called The Susi Q’s Feeling the Blues program, and they set me up with a wonderful therapist, who was so understanding about the situation. Sharing my emotions made such a difference to my mental well-being.”

Staying patient can be a challenge

While each situation is unique, Claire mentions a few recommendations that were helpful to her in dealing with her husband’s repetitive questioning, a challenge that continues to this day.

“The therapist suggested that I stop and take a minute before blurting out, ‘I just told you that,’ and instead try to put myself in his position, imagine how I’d want to be treated with respect.

“Secondly, I should answer the question again, but keep it short and without any accusations or sarcasm.

“And thirdly, that I should always make sure that he heard me the first (or second time) – to stand right in front of him and answer the question.”

Life is much calmer in the Dinesen household now.

“Although it takes a lot of energy and patience to keep answering the same question, I try to remember he’s not doing it intentionally to annoy me,” Claire adds. “That helps.”

spotlight on kay

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Kathleen “Kay” Wenger, LMFT, LPCC, is LBS’s Behavioral Health Supervisor and provides counseling through Feeling the Blues

Laguna Beach Seniors’ Behavioral Health Supervisor Kay Wenger notes that constant repetition is common among loved ones struggling with memory problems.

“Just because someone is forgetful, it does not mean that they have Alzheimer’s or dementia,” Kay explains. “We all forget things from time to time, and many people with ADHD, on medication and under stress, may have periods of forgetting.”

Kay offers these suggestions if your loved one does have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia:

--Reassure them with a calm approach and simply answer their question, understanding that this is a disease of the brain, and they are not trying to be difficult or forgetful on purpose.

--You might also try repeating the question back to them to see if they are able to recall the information that they are seeking.

--Redirect your loved one to something else that they can focus on.

--Change the subject when the subject matter is stressful, such as divorce, death, or other difficult questions.

--Don’t remind them that they just asked the same question.

--Put up reminder notes for frequently asked questions, for example, dinner will be at 6:30 p.m.

“Best of all, call us at Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q or email us to set up an appointment,” Kay adds. “Feeling the Blues is funded by donations and grants, so finances shouldn’t be an issue.”

Call Martha Hernandez, LCSW, at (949) 715-8104 to learn more about the program and to be connected to a therapist. 

Laguna Beach Seniors is based at the Susi Q Senior and Community Center. Click on www.thesusiq.org for more information.

*Not her real name.


Supervisor Lisa Bartlett launches Fifth District Small Business Grant Relief Program

Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett recently announced the launch of the Fifth District Small Business Grant Relief Program. The program is designed to support and sustain small businesses and nonprofit organizations within the Fifth District that have experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. 

“Orange County’s economic comeback has officially begun,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “So many small businesses have sacrificed to help our community slow the spread of the coronavirus, and their efforts paid off. Now, we are going to do everything we can to help them come back stronger than ever.” 

Supervisor Bartlett has partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cal State Fullerton to assist with the administration of robust, debt-free access to funding for businesses with no more than 25 full-time, or full-time equivalent, employees. Eligible businesses can receive up to $10,000 in grant relief. 

Funds will be allocated based on the applicant’s proof of need due to COVID-19 impacts. Businesses and nonprofits that received federal and state disaster funding may apply, however, funding must be used on alternative eligible expenses. Independent contractors and sole proprietors are eligible. Proof of operations within the district for the past 12 months is required. A selection of eligible grantees will be chosen at random, based on the population share of each city and the unincorporated areas within the district. 

For additional information, requirements, guidelines, and the application, visit www.ociesmallbusiness.org/ocdistrict5/

Small business owners are advised to contact the SBDC for help applying. A trusted community resource for small businesses, providing consulting and training services, the SBDC can also help the grant awardees – at no cost – to prepare additional required documents.


Laguna Beach celebrates centennial of the 19th Amendment and great women in history

This story features the remaining six portraits of local artist Hedy Buzan’s series of “Twelve Women Who Made America Great”…the first six appeared in Stu News’ last two editions.

Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. To celebrate the centennial of this historic event, Laguna’s 19th Amendment Celebration Committee is planning several free virtual events.

During America’s early history, women were denied some of the basic rights enjoyed by male citizens, according to an online history account. Married women couldn’t own property, had no legal claim to any money they might earn, and they couldn’t vote. The “weaker sex” was expected to focus on housework and motherhood and “not worry their pretty little heads with politics.”

Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of women’s suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see the final victory in 1920.

Laguna Beach Sanger

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Margaret Sanger, 1879 - 1966: Founder of Planned Parenthood, her book “Family Limitation” caused her to be prosecuted under the Comstock Obscenity Act. In 1916 she opened the first birth control clinic, which led to her arrest for publishing pamphlets on contraception. To learn more about her, click here.

Patti Ohslund, 19th Amendment Celebration Committee member/organizer, says, “Our first meeting to work on this project was in January with a completely different look than what we are able to do at this time. But happy to be doing something and hope that many people will join us in celebrating this most important date in women’s history. Also we are planning on presenting several other articles, they will be coming the end of July and all during August. Our partners are the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, the Laguna Beach Senior Center (Susi Q), AAUW and, of course, No Square Theatre.” 

A few years ago, local artist Hedy Buzan, who has exhibited at the Festival of Arts and the Sawdust Festival, created a series that honors twelve women and their incredible roles in shaping our history. This centennial seems the perfect time to celebrate these women as well.

Laguna Beach Dix

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Dorothea Dix, 1802 - 1887: An advocate for compassion for the mentally ill and for indigenous peoples, she supervised the Union Army nursing staff and changed American medical practices. To learn more about her, click here.

Buzan says, “I made the series Twelve Women Who Made America Great to celebrate the contributions of women to American history since the inception of the Republic. About half of the women were known to me before I started the project, the others were not.

“What became increasingly obvious to me was the trailblazing actions of these women and how they influenced society even before women had the franchise to vote. Everyone knows about Abigail Adams, and how her stewardship of the family farm allowed John Adams to travel to sit on the Continental Congress and travel to France, but I didn’t know she was a keen businesswoman who owned property in her own right and was an abolitionist.” 

Laguna Beach Adams

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Abigail Adams, 1744 - 1818: First Lady and confidant to John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams, she was an advocate for women’s property rights and the abolition of slavery. To learn more about her, click here.

“Nor did I know anything about her contemporary Mercy Otis Warren, who wrote plays that satirized King George a full three years before the Declaration of Independence. Ida B. Wells, a black woman who was a journalist who risked her life documenting lynching, was also unknown to me.

“So many social movements – care for the mentally ill, investigative journalism, social welfare, even Social Security and minimum wage laws – were crafted by women. As recently as our own time the contributions of advocates like Dolores Huerta and Dr. Murray were overshadowed by their male counterparts.

Laguna Beach Perkins

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Frances Perkins, 1880 - 1965: Secretary of Labor for FDR, she was the first female Cabinet member and is the architect of the New Deal including Social Security, unemployment benefits, child labor laws, minimum wages, and overtime laws. Incidentally, she is a direct descendent of Mercy Otis Warren.  For more information on her, click here.

“As for the creative part, each of these is a collage. I created portraits using different techniques: pencil, charcoal, colored pencil, tinted photographs, combined with quotes and patterns. Each is 9” x 12” and mounted on board.

“There are literally hundreds of women who could be added to the series, but these seemed the most influential to me.”

Virtual events: Centennial celebration

--Three films by Martha Wheelock, executive director of Wild West Women: The Vote, a film about the suffrage movement; California Women Win the Vote; and Inez Milholland: Forward into Light.

--Wednesday, August 19 at 7 p.m. – a book review lf The Women’s Hour by Elaine Weise. This will be A Zoom event hosted by Lesa Graves. 

Laguna Beach Tarbell

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Ida M. Tarbell, 1857 - 1944: An investigative journalist, Tarbell’s writing on Napoleon and Lincoln took journalism in a new direction, using carefully researched primary sources. She took this approach to expose questionable business practices in her book “The History of the Standard Oil Company.” For more information about her, click here.

--Wednesday, August 26 at 7 p.m. – A grand centennial celebration! A special musical presentation presented by No Square Theatre, Bree Rosen, Roxanna Ward, and Company. Also a monologue presented by Kim Salter: “The Woman’s Vote.” 

--This will start with a Zoom introduction and a link to the YouTube video.  To find out more about these events, go to the No Square website at www.nosquare.org and/or www.facebook.com/nosquaretheatre

Laguna Beach Addams

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Artwork by Hedy Buzan

Jane Addams, 1860 - 1935: Co-founder of the ACLU, she established Hull House, the first U.S. community center offering both intellectual examination of progressive issues and educational life-affirming opportunities for the downtrodden, particularly immigrants. She was also a charter member of the NAACP and advocated to President Wilson for a peaceful resolution of WWI. To learn more about her, click here.

According to americanbar.org, the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote, marked the largest expansion of democracy in the history of our country. So join in the celebration of this monumental 100-year anniversary.

To follow Laguna’s 19th Amendment Celebration Committee for upcoming events and to share with friends, click here. Tag the committee on Facebook with @WomensVoteLaguna.


Moon magic

Moon magic dark

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The bewitching power of moonlight


Laguna Beach residents urged to respond to the U.S. Census

Nationwide and in California as a whole, responses to the 2020 Census are on track, as more than 62 percent of households have responded online or by phone, or by mail if they received a paper questionnaire in the mail or on their doorstep.

It is vitally important that everyone be counted. Results from the 2020 Census inform planning and funding decisions for critical public services, emergency and disaster response, and schools and education programs. In fact, census results will shape decisions about how billions of dollars in federal funds flow into communities each year for the next decade.

As of July 29, only 60.2 percent of Laguna Beach residents have responded, ranking the city 371st out of the state’s 482 incorporated cities. For every person who does not respond, the California Department of Finance estimates that state and local governments will lose out on $1,000 a year in federal funding tied to population for the next 10 years.

Now more than ever, your response to the 2020 Census matters. Responding is easier than ever. For the first time this year, you can respond online. The census asks just a few questions and it takes only a few minutes to respond.

Making it even easier, the Census Bureau is now sending emails to households in low-response neighborhoods to urge them to respond. If you receive one of these messages from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and haven’t yet responded, please click on the link to do so.

Whether you receive an email or not, if you haven’t responded, please do so today, and urge your family, friends, and neighbors to respond too. It’s easy, safe, and important.

For more information, visit https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html.


State releases guidance for youth sports activity openings

The California Department of Public Health released guidance for youth sports activities to reopen including school-based, club, and recreational programs. The guidance document may be found at COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Youth Sports

All youth sports and physical education in Orange County must follow state guidance of physical distancing and safety protocols. Youth sports and physical education will be permitted only when the physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained and a stable cohort such as a class is maintained. Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent practicable. Tournaments, events, and competitions or any outdoor or indoor youth sports activities requiring close contact are not yet permitted under the state’s guidance.

Youth sports leagues must ensure that they meet the proper safety protocols as outlined which include proper cleaning, disinfection, and physical distancing.

Youth sports organizations will be required to train all staff on how to follow safety procedures, including enhanced sanitation practices, and provide information to families regarding safety guidance and requirements.

For more information about the COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Schools and School Based Programs, visit https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-youth-sports--en.pdf.


Barbara’s Column

Young artists recognized at Festival of Arts ceremony

“Get them young and train them right”

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Festival of Arts showcases art by gifted Orange County students from kindergarten to high school seniors in the Junior Art Exhibit, a vivid testimonial to the value and importance of arts education in our school systems. 

Children are never too young to learn to express themselves artistically. (By the way, what’s on your refrigerator door? You might have a Picasso in the making.)

Works by young artists have been a highlight of the festival since 1947. If – no, when – you go to the festival, don’t miss it. You will be amazed at the talent on display. 

Three hundred entries were chosen to be exhibited in the Junior Art Gallery, culled from the thousands submitted. From those 300, award winners are selected in two-dimensional art, three-dimensional works, digital art and photography in each age group. 

barbara james golden

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Laguna’s James Golden proudly holds his certificate

The annual Junior Arts Awards Ceremony was held Sunday in the festival amphitheater, filled with friends, family members and teachers who had turned out to applaud the young award winners.

They were greeted by festival President David Perry.

“It is great to see so many of you here today to support these young and very talented artists,” said Perry. “Over 70 years ago, art exhibitor and (Festival) board member Russell Iredell created the very first Junior Art Exhibition. It was a hit from the very beginning and continues to be a favorite with festival visitors.

“We celebrate the talent of these students as well as the instructors fostering their gifts.”

The annual Junior Art Awards Ceremony was sponsored by California First National Bank, and Laguna Beach resident and arts patron Mark Porterfield

Certificates were presented by Leslie Jewett, chief financial officer of the sponsoring bank, medals by Porterfield.

“The California First National Bank is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Festival of Arts Junior Art Exhibit,” said Jewett, a longtime Laguna Beach resident. ”We feel it is important to encourage creativity in students and to support arts education.” 

A jury composed of Porterfield, Steve Chadima, bank representative Emma Patton, Festival of Arts exhibitor Stephanie Cunningham and festival artist and curator of the festival’s permanent collection Pat Sparkuhl judged the art work for grades K through 12. 

“Jurying must have been extremely difficult, given the quality of the artwork,” said Perry. 

Porterfield has been a supporter of the Junior Art Gallery since 2009 and was instrumental in establishing the awards ceremony.

“I am happy to be a co-sponsoring this along with the bank,” said Porterfield. “It is important to encourage creativity in students and to support art education. It’s always been my favorite part of the festival since I first came here in 1980 and I can’t believe I am now sponsoring it.”

Five young Laguna Beach artists were among the award winners/medalists recognized Sunday. 

barbara inside a kaleidoscope

Inside a Kaleidoscope, by Angeline Elyaza

barbara golden reaching through

Reaching Through, by James Golden

barbara gracie curran

The Lost Cities Book Cover, by Gracie Curran

barbara natalia salinas

Blue Door, by Natalia Salinas

barbara jagger stanchina

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Scary Fence, by Jagger Stanchina

First grader Natalie Salinas won a gold medal for “Blue Door” in the two-dimensional category. Another first grader, Jagger Stanchina, was awarded a silver medal in the Photo O-5 category. Second grader Angelina Elyazal came in third in the Photo 0-5 for “Inside a Kaleidoscope.”

All three were students of Caitlin Reller at the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

“We are so proud of our young Club artists being recognized at the Festival and feel it is our duty to keep the creative spirit of our art colony alive for future generations,” said Pam Estes, executive director of the club. “Young people’s self-expression is a powerful tool for them to gain confidence, feel valued, and understand themselves and the world around them.”

Gracie Curran, a sixth grader at St. Catherine of Siena School, won a bronze medal in Digital 6-9 for “Keeper of the Lost Cities Book Cover.” Her teacher was Christine Thomas. Thurston Middle School student James Golden also was awarded a bronze medal for his photograph “Reaching Through the Wave” in the Photo 6-8 category. Anne Gillelan taught the class. Mia Yanes, a third grader at Top of the World Elementary School, came in third in Photo 6-8 grouping. Her teacher was Jennifer Baker.

Photographs were taken of each recipient, many with their teachers. A group photograph was taken at the conclusion of the ceremony. 

The 2018 Junior Art Exhibit was produced by the festival in partnership with Imagination Celebration Arts OC and the Orange County Department of Education.   

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.


Yachty by Nature headlines Grapes for Grads® scholarship fundraiser at Festival of Arts Grounds on April 28

Grapes for Grads, Laguna’s premier wine tasting event, to be held for the 14th time on Sunday, April 28, from 1 to 5 p.m., features not only wine tasting from over 80 wineries, but also live music from the well-known local band Yachty by Nature.

Yachty by Nature is a tight 6-piece band that brings the finest in groovy soft rock from the late 70s and early 80s. Attendees at Grapes for Grads® will hear many of their favorite artists like Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Toto, Christopher Cross, the Eagles, among others.

Yachty by band

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Yachty by Nature will headline Grapes for Grads charity event on April 28

Grapes for Grads® is an annual wine tasting event and scholarship fundraiser hosted by Rotary Club of Laguna Beach. The event raises money for scholarships to assist students who attend Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) and graduates of Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) who are headed to college. The focus is on students who show excellence in academics or art and a strong commitment to community and who may otherwise lack the resources to achieve their educational goals.

Yachty by Lisa

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Lisa Farber, Laurie Allen, and Adriana Guzman at 2018 Grapes for Grads

Guests will have the opportunity to taste wines from California and all around the world, including Argentina, France, Italy, New Zealand, and more, while enjoying music from Yachty by Nature in the beautiful Festival of Arts grounds. Delicious food from Wine Gallery, Oak, Maro Wood Grill, Harley Laguna Beach, and Moulin will also be served. There will also be live art demonstrations and exhibitions to enjoy by LCAD students at the event. This is going to be an unforgettable afternoon. 

Yachty by silent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Silent auction popular at 2018 event

Last year, the proceeds were estimated at $80,000 (gross) from the 13th Annual Grapes for Grads fundraiser hosted and staffed by Rotary members. “We knocked it out of the park,” said Jeffrey Redeker, chair of the 2018 event.

After last year’s festivities, President of LCAD Jonathan Burke, said, “Scholarships from Grapes for Grads will make a positive and immediate difference to our students who require financial assistance. Thank you for helping our talented and deserving students. Your gift is an investment in the future, every day that future is designed and created by our students.”

Join in on the fun for a great cause. For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.grapesforgrads.com.


Meet Pets of the Week Bobby and Sherman

Bobby and Sherman are currently taking the title of Pets of the Week. These two are seven-year-old brothers who are neutered doxie mixes. They are very sweet and well behaved. In addition, they are also housebroken. Bobby and Sherman have been at the shelter for a while, and are eagerly hoping to go home with a new family. They are full of love and will warm up to you right away. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see both Bobby and Sherman adopted as soon as possible. 

Pets of the Week 4 9 19

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Brothers Bobby and Sherman are looking for a new home together 

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Louis Weil launches real estate career with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

By DIANNE RUSSELL

After growing his professional career in the Consumer Products Food Industry, working for three Fortune 500 Companies in sales and sales management positions, Louis Weil has recently joined Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate.

Why the shift in career paths? Two years ago, Weil says his family needs changed. “In my Corporate Sales Management positions, I was traveling 60-75 percent of the time, and with two small children, I really wanted to not be on the road so much. At that time, I had an opportunity to learn and work locally on a development project, which allowed me more time with my family and more time to become invested in local issues within Laguna Beach. I joined the Chamber of Commerce Board and started volunteering for various city appointed groups such as the Affordable Housing Task Force.” 

Weil continues, “I moved here in 2009 when my wife and I were engaged, and then my career moved us to Austin, Texas for two years. We were able to return in 2012 and have lived here ever since. During that time, we’ve lived in both South Laguna and the Village, offering a great viewpoint of two incredible locations within this town. My wife grew up here and has lived here her entire life. Originally I grew up in Denver, Colorado and it’s where I call my first home. Since then I have lived all over the south west, including Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.”

Louis Weil close up

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Louis Weil joins Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate

“My wife and I are involved in Laguna Beach NextGen, which strives to get my generation informed and involved in local politics, community, and philanthropy. Becoming involved in different aspects of city life has allowed me to apply my skills in a different way, while also building firsthand experiences that I will be able to corelate to real estate. I grew up with a real estate background, as my great grandfather, grandfather, uncle, and now cousins have run Bray and Co Real Estate, which has operated since 1946 in the Western Slope of Colorado and is now a fourth generation family owned real estate brokerage.

“With that family support and background, my twin brother and I started partnering when we were 22 years old to buy and rent properties, and since then, I have participated in the transactions of a multitude of various properties including condos, apartments, rental income, vacation rentals, and single-family residences. Real estate has always been a side hobby of mine, and now I am most excited to turn that passion hobby into my career and assist others in achieving their real estate goals.” 

Louis Weil family

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Louis and his wife Meghan, who also works in town, with two sons Kellan (4) and Lochlan (2)

Berkshire Hathaway states that, “With his wide range of experience, clients can rely on his skill sets to provide solution-oriented services throughout the entire real estate transaction. He leverages new real estate technology services to support the overall process and takes great pride in building relationships and is upmost committed to the fundamental that brings together a buyer and seller. He is an active member of the Laguna Beach Community, serving on two city boards/committees, former board member of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and alongside his family supports many other Laguna Beach nonprofits and organizations.”

Weil has also recently become a member of the Design Review Board. “So far it has been going very well, I have a lot of respect for the current and past board members, and I have really appreciated all their guidance and insights over the last two months. After being appointed unanimously by the council in February, it has been a fast-paced working environment, especially since I am launching my real estate career at the same time. Back in February, the council requested that the new members shadow current board members, complete city training meetings, and follow two months of meetings until being seated at the April 11 meeting.”

Berkshire Hathaway is located at 30812 South Coast Hwy.


Technicolor night 

Technicolor night fireworks

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Photo by Christian Newton

The many hues of this year’s Fourth of July 


Surfrider Foundation’s Rachael Coccia to speak at LB Business Club breakfast meeting Thursday

The Laguna Beach Business Club (LBBC) is proud to present Rachael Coccia, plastic pollution manager of the Surfrider Foundation, as featured guest speaker at the club’s July 18 meeting. 

LBBC holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday each month at 7:30 a.m. at Seven7Seven, and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in your personal and professional lives.

Coccia will speak about what the Surfrider Foundation is doing to combat the growing plastic pollution epidemic that is negatively impacting our marine ecosystems, wildlife, and human health.

As the plastic pollution manager at Surfrider Foundation, Rachael directs the nationwide Ocean Friendly Restaurants program and manages single-use plastic campaigns across Surfrider’s chapter and club networks. 

Surfrider Foundations Rachael Coccia

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Rachel Coccia, plastic pollution manger at Surfrider Foundation, to speak at Thursday’s LBBC meeting

Rachel also leads the Rise Above Plastics program, which includes conducting public outreach and education efforts on the impacts of plastic in the marine environment with the goal of helping others make the transition from a single-use, disposable lifestyle to one that is reusable and zero waste. Having spent the first 27 years of her life in the Northeast, Rachael strives to find solutions to plastic pollution that have a positive and lasting impact from coast to coast.

LBBC is a group of local business professionals and entrepreneurs.

The group meets monthly to discuss current events, business opportunities, and share insights within the context of our community and our lives. The club’s goal is to build and maintain relationships with local professionals and businesses that club members are proud to recommend to their clients and friends. 

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Non-members are welcome. The non-member guest fee is $20, payable in cash or check (payable to the Laguna Beach Business Club) the day of the meeting. 

For more information about the LBBC or to register to attend a meeting, visit www.lagunabeachbusinessclub.com, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact member Pamela Knudsen (949) 285-3730.

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 


Guest Column

Heart-centering practice 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello and welcome to the Happiness Corner. I think most of us would agree that we live in trying times. Our attention spans, bodies, and spirits are getting stretched out of proportion. It’s not sustainable. As a collective, many have strayed from the wisdom of the heart-brain. 

As much as we’d like to help, we can’t force others to change. And we can’t always change our own circumstances, but we can stand in the power of our own choices – how we act, how we think, and how we feel.

So when we feel like we’re grinding our gears, or we get triggered by the people we love (and the ones we have a hard time loving), or when we’re paralyzed by external input (expectations, unsolicited feedback, the news) – how do we relocate our power, take responsibility, and move forward with clear intention?

We start by moving into our heart-center: where the true intelligence and clarity is.

The heart-centering practice guides you through tuning in, opening, and strengthening your heart connection to help you manifest – deeper relationships, authentic expression, the courage to answer the call, what I call tangible change.

It’s a very simple practice that awakens your breath, compassion, presence, and gratitude to help you return to yourself when you’re feeling off kilter. Our breath is the way home. And heart-focused breathing fills us and our environment with clarifying love.

I crafted this practice for my own hungry heart, and for yours. I tried it on my own for a long time, letting it bake into my bones, do its work. It’s become my morning contemplation practice’ it’s helped me get through hurt and anxiety. And sometimes it’s just a dose of sweetness in between errands and strategic planning.

Heart centering doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Heart-centered living is the (r)evolution that we need. You can choose grace when circumstances are gritty. Returning to your heart – your Core Desired Feelings, is the central focus. And right focus creates peace. Peace today begets more peace tomorrow and so on.

There is a center in the body where love and spirit are joined, and that center is heart. It is your heart that aches or fills with love, that feels compassion and trust, and that seems empty or overflowing. Within the heart is a subtler center that experiences the essence of your spirit, but you can’t feel spirit as an emotion or physical sensation. Spirit lies beneath the layers of sensations, and to experience it, you must go to the heart and meditate upon it until everything that obscures spirit is cleansed. In the words of the mystical poet William Blake, “you are cleansing the doors of perception.”

In the meditation below, you will be guided to listen to the messages your heart is sending you. You will begin to clear away whatever is blocking your heart so that you can experience the pure shining spirit that is your true nature.

How to meditate on the heart

Follow these simple steps to connect with your heart’s energy: 

--Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

--For just this moment, let go of your thoughts and the outside world. 

--Focus your attention on your spiritual heart center, in the middle of your chest, and be aware of your heart as a space. The heart center is a point of awareness where feelings enter. In its essence, the heart is pure emptiness, infused with peace and a subtle light. This light may appear as white, gold, pale pink, or blue. But do not strain to find a light of any kind. All you need to feel is whatever is there. 

Heart centering pose

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Meditate on the heart 

--Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath flowing into your heart. You may want to visualize a soft, pastel light or coolness infusing the chest. 

--Inhale and exhale gently. Let your breath go in and out, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to say. Don’t phrase this as an order; just have the faint intention that you want your heart to express itself.

--For the next 7 to 10 minutes, sit and listen. Your heart will begin to release emotions, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams long stored inside. As it does, you will find yourself paying closer attention. 

--You may have a flash of strong emotion – positive or negative – or a forgotten memory. Your breathing may change. You may gasp, sigh, or even tear up. Let the experience be what it is. If you daydream or drift off into sleep, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.

When you are ready, take a few slow, deep breaths and open your eyes. 

Take out your journal or notebook and make notes about whatever came up for you during the guided meditation. Write down: 

--How you want to be living your life 

--What needs to be cleared out or pruned 

--What qualities or characteristics you need to embrace 

--What specific action steps you need to take, including something you can do today

--Go do that thing today. Tomorrow, do the next thing, and so on.

Bring this practice into your own life. Infuse it. Let it work…

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

Dr. Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


LBPD and LBFD duke it out tonight in first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses Softball Game,” all are invited

Tonight, Tuesday, Aug 6, the Laguna Beach Police Department and Laguna Beach Fire Department will duke it out at the Laguna Beach High School Baseball Field during National Night Out 2019. All are invited to attend and cheer on our city’s finest and bravest!

The gates open at 5 p.m. and pregame activities start at 5:30 p.m. with a K-9 demonstration on the field. There will be a flag presentation at 6 p.m., the National Anthem at 6:10 p.m., and the first pitch thrown out by Skipper Carrillo at 6:30 p.m. The big game starts at 6:30 p.m. There will be free hotdogs, chips, and a drink!

LBPD and LBFD Cota

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sgt Jim Cota will lead the way for LBPD tonight in the first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses” Softball game against LBFD

This is first softball game between the teams. 

LBPD will be led by coaches/players Sgt Jim Cota and Sgt Jesse Schmidt; LBFD will be led by coach/player Capt John Kuzmic.

Sgt Jim Cota says, “The LBPD softball team is very excited to be playing the LBFD/Marine Safety team on National Night Out. Bragging rights are on the line. On a personal level, we are all very close so this will be some friendly fun.” 

Engineer Paramedic Pat Cary says, “The Laguna Beach Firefighters are excited to participate in the first annual National Night Out event and see this as a great way for the community and residents to connect with each other and their first responders! To say we are a competitive group of firefighters would be an understatement and we can’t wait to play baseball against our brothers and sisters in Blue! Let’s Play Ball!” 

LBPD and LBFD fire

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Engineer/Paramedic Pat Cary (front) and LBFD hope to defeat LBPD at tonight’s first annual “Guns ‘n Hoses Softball Game”

National Night Out culminates annually on the first Tuesday in August. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. It provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. 

The LBHS Baseball Field is located at 625 Park Ave.


Red Cross Blood Drive was a success thanks to 35 life-saving donors 

Residents stepped up to participate in a Red Cross Blood Drive at Laguna Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, Aug 7 to save lives due to a blood shortage from the recent shootings. 

“The blood shortage emergency across the nation bumped up further following recent shootings,” stated blood drive coordinator Sandy Grim. 

 “It was another great day of saving lives at Laguna Presbyterian Church. 35 people participated and we were able to collect 35 pints of blood that will be used to save up to 105 hospital patients lives.”

Red Cross church

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Red Cross thanks the community for recent blood drive success

Laura Rudd of American Red Cross Blood Services attributed the drive’s success to Grim’s efforts. “Sandy, once again, your determination paid off with success! You were able to fill up those open time slots and get enough donors to walk through the doors of Tankersley Hall to give their life-saving blood.

“Three people donated double red cells which counted as six towards the goal. And one last bit of exciting news to share: 11 of the people who participated were first-time blood donors! That is so fantastic to see. Hopefully they will become regular blood donors at LPC.

“Many thanks to you, all of the donors and the volunteers who contributed to this wonderful blood drive. We will see you again on October 9.” 

To schedule an appointment for the October 9 blood drive, sign up at www.redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code “laguanp” or email Laura Rudd at the Red Cross at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Walk-ins are also welcome. 

Please remember to bring a photo ID or Red Cross Donor Card on the day of donation. 

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.


Laguna natives host wellness SURFACE Retreat for women at Desert Escape in September

SURFACE, created by Laguna Beach natives Frances Naude and Tori Toma, is rooted in providing health, healing, clarity, connection, and good times to women of all ages. Together, they are hosting a SURFACE Retreat, a three-day weekend from September 13 - 15, at Desert Escape in Indio, Calif.

This all-inclusive wellness retreat will help participants uncover, connect, and evolve into their best selves. 

Naude and Toma say, “Health and healing are getting even more expensive. yoga and wellness retreats seem unattainable for most. However, SURFACE Retreat changes all of that and is geared towards women who have tight schedules but who want the retreat experience at a reasonable cost.” 

At the Desert Escape Retreat, each guest will receive four yoga classes, a private Reiki Energy Healing session, a private Tarot Card reading, group meditation and connection circles, a house plant propagation and care workshop, a Chakra Balancing Essential Oils workshop, downtime to enjoy the pool and home, three meals a day, and a lot of fun. 

Laguna natives girls

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Frances Naude and Tori Toma

Naude and Toma say, “Our goal for this weekend is simple: come out better than we came in. SURFACE is committed to helping you recognize and accept parts of yourself that may need to come to light, all while in the company of other supportive and empowering women at an affordable investment (all-inclusive registrations start at $400). We intend to reach complete gratitude and contentment as we unwind with one another, allowing our highest self to come to the foreground.” 

They both bring substantial experience to SURFACE.

Naude is a Master Reiki Healer, Tarot Card Reader, Yoga Instructor, and Health Coach. She studied for a year to become a Holistic Health Coach, and then went on to complete her 200-hour yoga teacher training. Now, after hundreds of hours of training, studying, experimenting, playing, receiving, and working with clients through her small business Four Noble Holistic Health, she has finally found her purpose: to guide people on their life’s journeys.

Laguna natives Tori

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Tori Toma

Toma is an event planning guru who is dedicated to bringing people’s visions and passions to life. From working with high-end fashion clients to nonprofit organizations, she has gained a wide variety of experience in the industry and knows how to throw a kick-ass event. Toma is an expert-level plant mom. She first uncovered her green thumb a few years back, and since then, the hobby has turned into a cohesive lifestyle.

How did SURFACE come to be? 

Ten years ago, Naude and Toma were freshmen at Laguna Beach High School. They say, “running around with rosy cheeks, kissing the same boys, and going to the same beaches.” One too many of the same love interests resulted in the decision that they were not supposed to be in each other’s lives. After years of disconnect and graduating college, they happened to live in close proximity and found both their priorities had shifted. 

Laguna natives Frances

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Frances Naude

SURFACE is a congregation of passions from two women who want to support and connect with their Sisters. Naude and Toma say, “We want to embrace our fellow females with encouragement to feel empowered, heard, and inspired. We want to connect over laughter, commonalities, hardships, success stories, and personal evolution, and feel that SURFACE offers this to [our] Sisters who are seeking what they were seeking: authentic connection, kindness, love, deep understanding, and of course, fun!”

For more information on Naude, visit www.fournobleholistichealth.com or @four.noble.health on Instagram.

For more information on Toma visit @toritoma on Instagram.

Go to www.surfaceretreat.com and @surfaceretreat on Instagram to find out more and reserve a spot.


Rock of ages

Rock of rocks

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The oldest oceanic crust is about 260 million years old. This sounds old but is very young compared to the oldest continental rocks, which are 4 billion years old.

Rock of birds

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Blending in while looking for a snack


Susi Q to host free “Othello Shakespeare Reading Circle” 

On Thursday, Sept 12, Oct 10, Nov 21, and Dec 12 from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Susi Q & Community Center will host a free “Othello Shakespeare Reading Circle.”

Othello is a play that examines, as do Shakespeare’s other works, human relationships and interactions. UCI’s Julia Lupton, Ph.D. will lead the read aloud sessions, assigning parts and breaking frequently for discussion. 

Susi Q building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Susi Q Center will offer free Shakespeare class 

No background in Shakespeare or drama required. 

For more information, visit or call the front desk (949) 464-6645 or email Julia Lupton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jo Ekblad at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Susi Q & Community Center is located at 380 Third St.


Tahirih Justice Center to host 2nd annual gala to raise funds for women fleeing violence on Sept 28

The Tahirih Justice Center, a nationally recognized leader in the fight to end violence against women and girls, will host its 2nd annual gala on Saturday, Sept 28.

The Gala celebrates Tahirih’s 22 successful years as an organization, answering more than 27,000 pleas for help from courageous immigrant women and girls who are changing the world – one person, one family, and one community at a time. 

Together with 300 guests, Tahirih will honor clients who have overcome overwhelming adversity in their pursuit of justice and the champions who stand beside them, determined to create a world where all women and girls may live in safety and with dignity.

Tahirih Justice pink

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Guests showing their support during the Tahirih Justice Center Gala 2018 

Acting as Masters of Ceremonies are actor and philanthropist Rainn Wilson, best known for playing “Dwight” on NBC’s Emmy-winning show The Office, and fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn, best known for her collection of short stories Big Cats.

 Longtime supporters of Tahirih, Rainn and Holiday are dedicated to ending violence against women and creating a world where women and men enjoy equality: “The truth is, we have never been in the kind of fight that Tahirih’s clients are in now. We’ve never had to battle for safety and freedom in the same way that Tahirih staff and volunteers do every day on behalf of women and children around the world, and we are truly honored to recognize and stand with those on the frontlines.”

Tahirih Justice group

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(L-R) Pam Tayebi, Debbie Drucker, Suzy Elghanayan, Layli Miller-Muro, founder of the Tahirih Justice Center, Eva LaRue, Yvonne Bonadio, Irene Martino, and Annee Della Donna

Tahirih is honored to welcome former client and survivor of forced marriage Neha Batool as the evening’s Courageous Voice Speaker. When she was just a teenager, Neha’s family told her she would be married to a man whom she did not choose as her life partner. With no hope of convincing her family otherwise, and with pain in her heart, she left home in the middle of the night, with a few suitcases and the family car. 

Thanks to the support of her high school counselors, local law enforcement, Second Story, and of course the Tahirih Justice Center, Neha closed her bank account; sold her car; changed her name, email, phone, and computer settings; enrolled in online classes at a different school; and moved into a shelter to ensure her safety. 

Over the next two years, she gained citizenship status and changed her name. She explored colleges and scholarships, and eventually received her Bachelor’s degree. She accepted internship placements with the Tahirih Justice Center and Second Story, which sparked her career interest in the field of mental health.

“Without the support of the Tahirih Justice Center and other extraordinary individuals and organizations in my life, I would not have discovered the sea of opportunities and resources available to women like me, searching for a better life. I would not have become the role model I am proud to be for my sisters and their daughters. I, who once tiptoed in a dark carpeted hallway escaping a forced marriage, have now fostered new values and new identities, which inspire me to carve a path for others, in their fight for social justice,” stated Neha. 

Hosted by Gala Co-Chairs Christine Hallen-Berg and Vincent LaBarbera, Tijana and Paul Hamilton, and Sarah and David Vanderveen, the evening will share with new and old friends the importance of Tahirih’s services across the nation and officially welcome guests to the Tahirih family.

“The work of Tahirih would not be possible without the incredible support from our champions in Orange County. It is a true honor to witness the impact we can make when we all come together, stand up for equality, and demand justice. Together, we honor the incredible courage shown by women and girls who refuse to be victims of human rights abuses. Together, we recommit ourselves to the outstretched arms of humanity and decency and love,” stated the hosts.

The Gala will be held at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, and will feature a general reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, a seated dinner, and a celebratory program including both a live and silent auction. Benefactor and Defender level sponsors include Lugano Diamonds and First American Title Insurance Company, respectively.

To learn more about this event, contact Carey Eisenberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (571) 282-6172.


Surf and Sand hosts Seaside with Sommeliers event

On Thursday, Sept 26, Laguna’s luxury beach resort the Surf and Sand presents Seaside with Sommeliers on the Ocean Terrace featuring the Heitz Cellar. Guests will enjoy a five-course dinner with wine pairings while sampling a range of varietals from this family-owned winery.

The menu will be presented by corporate executive chef Ron Fougeray featuring: 

--Passed Appetizers: Corn & Sunchoke Veloute Albacore Crudo, Tomato & Speck

--First Course: Crushed Marcona Almond, Celtuce, Watermelon Cucumber, Plum Vinaigrette, Olive Crisp 

--Second Course: Five Spice Charred Ahi 

--Third Course: Sous Vide Duck Breast 

--Fourth Course: Dry-Aged New York Steak 

--Fifth Course: Hazelnut Leaf 

Seaside with toast

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Guests will enjoy a toast at the Surf and Sand with Heitz Cellar 

Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. with dinner following at 7. 

Tickets are $195 per person inclusive of tax and service charge. 

For reservations, contact Jordan Rocha at (949) 376-2754 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Where’s Maggi?

Do you know this building/place? Maggi’s hoping to stump our readers on this one – don’t let her get a win!

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 9 27 19

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Laguna Ocean Foundation seeking Tidepool Docents

The Laguna Ocean Foundation is currently looking for volunteer Tidepool Docents to educate the public about the unique ecology in Laguna’s protected tidepools. 

The next class training will be held on Wednesday, Oct 2 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Back Bay Science Center in Newport Beach. Docents are required to be at least 18 years of age and volunteer at the tidepools at least one monthly three-hour shift at Crescent Bay, Shaws Cove, Woods Cove, or Goff Cove, all within the Laguna Beach Marine Protected Area.   

Laguna Ocean starfish

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Explore Laguna’s breathtaking sea life while learning about our protected tidepools

Students will explore the opportunity to become a Tidepool Docent and experience the excitement of sharing the marine life in the tidepools with local residents and visitors. 

To sign up for the program or for further information, contact Suzanne Welsh, Tidewater Docent Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 522-5187. 

Laguna Ocean Foundation is dedicated to sustainable ocean ecosystems protecting and preserving the intertidal zone, watersheds, and ocean waters of Laguna Beach. 

For more information regarding the Foundation, visit www.lagunaoceanfoundation.org

The Back Bay Science Center is located at 600 Shellmaker Rd, Newport Beach.


Laguna takes part in 12th Annual National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month

The City of Laguna Beach is proud to announce its participation in the 12th Annual National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month. During the month of November, this event brings awareness to the Laguna Beach community about people who are hungry and homeless in our community, our county, and our nation. 

Proclaimed by the City Council and organized as a public service by the Housing and Human Services Committee, the purpose of Laguna Beach’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month is to enhance community awareness of the issue in our society, our own hungry and homeless in Laguna Beach, and the community organizations that assist with these concerns in Laguna Beach and Orange County. 

During the entire month of November, there are nine different ways residents can participate: 

--Volunteering Time at the Friendship Shelter

Friendship Shelter’s vision is to end homelessness in southern Orange County, one person at a time. Each night, 166 individuals sleep safe and are cared for in one of our three housing-focused programs. Friendship Shelter is proud to have permanently housed 100 vulnerable individuals last year and is on track to repeat this success in 2019. Friendship Shelter’s primary need is for volunteers to provide, prepare, and help serve hot, healthy meals for its residents. Guest chefs of all ages are encouraged to volunteer their time and recipes, and make a positive difference in the lives of residents. To volunteer, call (949) 494-6928 or email office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

--Waterman’s Wall 5th Anniversary Art Expo

Join the Laguna Beach Networks Fundraiser (hors d’oeuvres, dessert, live music, and “the man behind the wall” artist Randy Morgan’s silent auction) on Friday, Nov 8 at 5:30 p.m. 

Purchase tickets at www.lagunahungryandhomeless.com.

Special guest speaker Tim Storey presents “Time to Turn Your Setbacks into Comebacks.” Proceeds will benefit the Laguna Beach Networks – Helping Hands from the Homeless Work Program. The event will be held at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts at BC Gallery, located at 235 Forest Ave. For more information, contact Faye Chapman at (949) 280-2885 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Laguna takes Randy and Tim

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Artist Randy Morgan (on left) and guest speaker Tim Storey will appear at the 5th Anniversary Waterman’s Wall Art Expo on Friday, Nov 8 

--Exclusive Laguna Beach Kitchen Tours

Peek into the well-appointed kitchens of some of the most beautiful homes in Laguna Beach on Sunday, Nov 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. This self-guided tour of selected homes will help fill the Laguna Food Pantry’s shelves and refrigerators so that no one goes hungry. The event is sponsored by the Mike Johnson Group. 

For tickets and additional information, click here. 

--Recommended Film Screenings

The following suggested films reveal the struggles of those experiencing poverty and homelessness in America:

The Florida Project (2017) – “Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.”

Dark Days (2000) – “Marc Singer’s documentary about the homeless population who live in the underground tunnels of New York City – haunting and uplifting in equal measures.” 

To view movie trailers, click here. 

--A Day of Kindness

Join the Ability Project’s Public Awareness Event in the cobblestone area of Main Beach in Laguna Beach on Saturday, Nov 9 from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Activities include music, sunset meditation, and featured artist Ava August. Shadi Pourkashef, who is the founder of the Ability Awareness Project and Goodwill Ambassador of World Kindness for Laguna Beach, promotes anti-bullying education and empowerment. The City of Laguna Beach declared support for a kinder world and to place World Kindness Day, occurring each year in November on the City’s calendar. 

--Winter Clothing Drive: 

During the month of November, gather up your gently-used winter clothing and drop it off at the Laguna Exchange, located at 995 S. Coast Hwy (corner of Anita Street and South Coast Hwy on the ocean side of the street), open from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday 

--The Annual Laguna Beach Community Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner: 

Join Friendship Shelter and the Neighborhood Congregational Church for Laguna Beach’s Annual Thanksgiving Community Potluck on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov 28 at 12 p.m. An estimated 600 to 700 meals will be served buffet style, with food and supplies provided by individuals, churches, and community groups. Everyone is invited to bring their favorite dish for the potluck buffet, which is available to all members of the community, including many homeless clients. 

Donations of prepared and cooked turkeys and food are needed and will be accepted beginning at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the church at 340 St Ann’s Dr. To donate turkey, contact Mary LaRusso at (949) 497-5641 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The feast begins at noon. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Friendship Shelter Marketing Director Kristin Points at (949) 494-6928 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

--The Laguna Food Pantry’s Annual Food Drive (Month of November): 

Sponsored by the City of Laguna Beach and Waste Management, the food drive benefits the Laguna Food Pantry, which provides free, fresh groceries to more than 300 local families in need each week. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd north of the dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. New volunteers are always welcome. Most needed food items include: peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta and pasta sauce, and rice and beans.

For more information, call (949) 497-7121 or visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org.

Laguna takes food

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Food Pantry’s Annual Food Drive – Month of November

--Girl Scout Toiletry Drive (November 1 - 18)

Made possible by the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts and the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, the community can participate by donating unused toiletry items and socks which benefit our city’s Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL), which provides the homeless temporary nightly housing and other services year round. 

For a list of drop off locations, contact Missy Palino at (949) 322-0470 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The following items are most in need: new socks (adult sizes preferred), sample sized shampoo and conditioner, individually wrapped bars of soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, and sample sized toothpaste, sunscreen, small bottles of lotion, lip balm, disposable razors, feminine products, small tissue packages, BandAids, washcloths, and brushes/combs 

To learn more about Laguna Beach’s Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month, visit www.LagunaHungryandHomeless.com.


R Star Foundation awarded again for efforts in Nepal

For the sixth year in a row, R Star Foundation was honored/awarded by Soroptomist International of Laguna Beach with $1,000 to continue R Star’s efforts in Nepal to improve lives.

“The work of R Star is quite similar to Soroptomist’s by those we help and work with here and abroad,” states R Star Founder Rosalind Russell. “We are like-minded with eliminating the heinous sex trafficking trade, lifting women and children, while providing education and better living.”

On November 18 at the Soroptomist meeting held at the American Legion, the funds were presented by Soroptomist President Michaela Jeppson to Russell.

R Star check

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(L-R) Rosalind Russell and Michaela Jeppson

Members enjoyed a variety of home cooked food during the social hour before the meeting officially opened.

Following the easy chatting and eating, a brief presentation was given by Rosalind who invited the Soroptomist club members to volunteer in a number of capacities with R Star beyond their financial gift. 

Rosalind wore authentic clothing of the Nepalese women, a kurta swari, which was a way to add to the color of the small country she works in.

For anyone interested in volunteering for R Star, contact Rosalind directly at (949) 497-4911 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information, visit www.rstarfoundation.org.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

This week’s challenge was a little tricky because the sculpture is similar to another in Laguna. But several savvy Stu News readers were on to Maggi’s tricks.

Steve Hoffman answered first with the location – the entrance to 14 West Boutique Hotel, on S. Coast Hwy near Cleo Street. Steve Hoffman knows public art! So, too, do Nancy Wade, Bernadette Murphy, Nancy Milby, and Cathy Bosko!

Thanks for checking in. Look for the next photo challenge on Friday.    

Wheres Maggi 11 26 19

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Sculpture at 14 West Boutique Hotel, on South Coast Hwy north of Cleo


LBUMC presents “Joy to the World” Christmas Eve service on Dec 24

“Joy to the World” is the theme of the Advent/Christmas Season at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church this year and will be noted during the Christmas Eve services at the church as it celebrates the 300th anniversary of the hymn. 

The Chancel Choir will perform at the 7:30 p.m. service, which focuses on lessons, carols and candlelight.  At 11 p.m., Communion and Candlelight will be offered.

LBUMC presents church

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LBUMC announces Christmas Eve candlelight service

Pastor Lynn Francis’ message at both services is “Incarnate Joy.” She notes that composer Isaac Watts’ interpretation of Psalm 98 invites us to sing a “new song” as all creation is being renewed and freed. She adds, “Rather than “joy” being yet another word for happiness, we will discover that the depths of joy can be found especially in the midst of suffering, the works of justice, and the presence of compassion – all part of the coming of Jesus to this world.”

Everyone is invited and welcome at the services. LBUMC is a Reconciling Congregation.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 499-3088. 

LBUMC is located at 21632 Wesley Drive, up the street from Gelson’s Shopping Center.


Laguna Presbyterian Church offers supportive program to explore and discuss faith

The community is invited to delve into discussions about life, faith, and God in a special program being offered at Laguna Presbyterian Church, starting January 12.

Alpha is an informal, inviting program that encourages people to discuss their beliefs and ask questions about the Christian faith in an informal, inviting setting. 

Each session includes participants gathering late afternoon for Sunday dinner, then watching a video which is followed by friendly conversations. It is open to people of all ages and all beliefs. 

Laguna Presbyterian outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Presbyterian Church offers a new special program for community 

“Through sharing meals and conversation, we all grow,” said Michael Millson, organizer. “This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone no matter where they are on their faith journey – or if they’ve only just wondered what role faith may have in their lives.” 

Each session will look at different questions around faith and is designed to create conversation. “There’s no right or wrong way to participate in Alpha,” says Millson. “You can just listen, or you can bring up as many aspects of faith as you’d like. This is really an opportunity to grow and learn together.” 

Organizers have been trained through the nationwide program and will act as facilitators in a friendly, supportive manner. The LPC Alpha will run from 5 - 7 p.m. in the church’s inviting community room, Tankersley Hall. Free childcare is available, but please notify organizers if you’ll need this service. 

The program will run from January 12 through March 29, with no gatherings on February 2, March 9, or March 15. While attendance is not mandatory at all sessions, it’s hoped people will make a commitment to the effort so the group will grow together. There is no fee to participate. 

For more information, call or text Michael Millson at (949) 244-1862 or visit the church’s website at www.lagunapreschurch.org.    

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave. Free parking for participants is available at the church’s Third Street parking lot.


A-paw-thetic

A paw thetic cat

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Photo by Leonard J. Porto III

Nestor admits that some days, you just don’t want to get out of bed


Meet Pet of the Week Woody

Woody is currently taking over Pet of the Week. He is a 10-year-old Chihuahua who is neutered. Unfortunately, Woody comes from an abusive background. For years, he endured abuse that affects him to this day. It takes a long time for Woody to warm up to someone, and because of this, he would do best with a home that only has adults. Although, once he warms up to you, it has been noted that Woody is a very devoted dog. He needs a patient owner, one that will be willing to work with his struggles. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, is hoping to have Woody adopted by his forever family as soon as possible. 

Meet Pet of the Week Woody

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Woody is looking for a home that will shower him in unconditional love

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Glennwood’s G-Force collects valentines for local veterans and troops for Congressman Rouda

Glennwood’s G-Force, “Glennwood for Good” members, recently collected valentines for Orange County congressman Harley Rouda’s office to give to local veterans and troops.

“Join me, and families across California’s 48th Congressional District, in showing appreciation for our local veterans and troops by sending homemade Valentine’s Day cards,” Rouda wrote on his Facebook page. “I invite everyone to participate by dropping off or mailing cards at my Newport Beach District Office.”

Glennwood's G Force group

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Glennwood’s G-Force visits Harley Rouda’s office to drop off handmade valentines for local veterans and troops 

Glennwood’s G-Force, “Glennwood For Good” members, visited congressman Rouda’s office where they were welcomed and greeted by the staff. Residents Jewelz, Nicole, Jim, Baneh, David, Kelly, and Brad were very excited to drop off their handmade valentines for our wonderful veterans and troops.

G-Force wishes all our service women and men a very wonderful Valentine’s Day and thanks them for their service to our country.

For more information or to invite G-Force to participate in service projects, contact Glennwood House of Laguna Beach at (949) 715-4863 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Ahh, the gift of a Valentine Spa Day

By Diane Armitage

Hopefully, you’ve made dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day (that’s tonight, folks) or Valentine’s weekend. If you haven’t yet, you can check out my TheBestofLagunaBeach.com Valentine Dining Roundup article to see what’s available out there. 

Now, for that gift! Given the latest stress levels of our lives, I’m all for giving the gift of a spa treatment or spa day. It’s unique. It’s a grand gesture of care for your recipient. And, best of all, you end up with a happier person in your life upon their return!

Fortunately, we have plenty of spas in Laguna Beach to accommodate you, and I have an out-of-town option that comes with great hotel discounts, too. Remember, we’re waltzing from Valentine’s Day into President’s Day, so consider a break from the grindstone on Monday, too. 

The lap of luxury for locals, too

A smaller spa that’s luxe in every detail, AquaTerra offers up oceanside massage rooms that might just have you keeping your eyes open throughout the massage. It’s quite the treat. At my last call, they reported some bookings available for Sunday and more options available on Monday. Call (888) 281-3502.

ahh the aquaterra

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Courtey of JC Resorts

Ask for availability of an oceanside massage room at Surf and Sand’s AquaTerra

Laguna Canyon Spa

Still owned by the darling (and fabulous massage therapist) Lucy Wojskowicz, the Laguna Canyon Spa might not look as commanding on the outside, but it offers quite the feng shui feel when you walk in the doors. Still offering their “Chocolate Mousse Hydration Mini Facial Special” through the weekend, they’re reporting availability on all days but this Saturday.

Call (949) 715-0210.

Spa Montage Laguna Beach

Anytime you book a spa treatment at Spa Montage Laguna Beach, consider the “Seasonal Serenity” package, which allows you the full day to float around the spa in your fluffy robe, enjoy the hotel’s spa pool, try the fitness center and dine for lunch at the Mosaic Bar & Grille with the choice of just one 60-minute treatment. Not bad for the price of a mani/pedi. 

ahh the montage

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Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

The “Seasonal Serenity Package” at Montage Laguna Beach is the way to go for full spa pool and fitness room access with your spa treatment

At my last call, the Spa Montage still had openings on Friday afternoon as well as Sunday afternoon. Monday’s holiday offers more booking options. 

Call (949) 715-6010.

Sycamore Spa by Hudson at The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The new Sycamore Spa is quite the lovely little find in our canyon niche, The Ranch at Laguna Beach (which, by the way, has just been listed as a rare Recommended Hotel in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide). The Sycamore Spa offers all-day pool lounging to spa clientele, too. Check out the special Valentine spa treatment offers, with best availability on Friday afternoon, Sunday afternoon, and on Monday. Call (949) 715-1393.

And, 26 miles across the sea…the Spa at Catalina Island

As spas go, the Island Spa Catalina in Avalon is one of my favorites, especially in off-season. Heck, even in the height of summer, I’ll head to this Catalina Spa because it continues to be something of a hidden gem right in the heart of town. 

ahh the catalina

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Courtesy of Catalina Island Company

The lounge deck of the Island Catalina Spa offers some of the best scenery around

A few years ago, the Island renovated an entire shopping center across from the Tuna Club of Avalon. Now, it’s an immaculate 15,000-square-foot spa with a pool in the Spa’s courtyard and crazy-amazing views of the Avalon Harbor from the second-floor balconies. 

While the Spa itself offers seasonal specials, it is also included in some packages of the Island’s “Best of Winter” special that runs through the end of March. Check out my TheBestofLagunaBeach.com article on these mid-week specials that make it worth the tiptoe away from your workplace for a couple stolen days of quiet luxury. 

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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 and follow on Instagram @BestOfLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).


A whale of a day at sea: The 49th Annual Dana Point Festival of the Whales kicks off on March 7 

By DIANNE RUSSELL

On Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, Dana Point begins celebrating its 49th Annual Festival of the Whales. The festivities, which will also take place on March 14 and 15, include a myriad of activities – and opportunities – to pay tribute to the whale migration.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of taking a whale watching excursion on the Dana Pride from Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, which was founded in 1971.

Whales and dolphins galore 

Although there’s never a guarantee that a whale watching expedition will come across whales or even dolphins, it’s a sure thing that going out on one of the Dana Wharf Whale Watching boats will be a fantastic couple of hours at sea. Friday was not only a beautiful, sunny day, but to make it even more perfect, we came across three gray whales and several pods of common dolphins – and lots of babies who were jumping straight up out of the water, obviously giddy with excitement. 

This is the ideal place to witness the migration. Known as the “Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®,” Dana Point welcomes the greatest concentration of blue whales and dolphins on earth, and offers the best year-round whale watching opportunities. Dana Point Harbor has quick and easy accessibility to open ocean and unobstructed views, giving whale watchers a sense of pristine and spectacular encounters.

A whale flipping

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Courtesy of Loriannah Hespe and Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

Gray Whale spotted during an excursion 

All of the whale and dolphin watching cruises are narrated by expert marine naturalist captains, and the one on our trip provided all sorts of interesting facts about gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) and dolphins. The migration route of the Pacific Gray Whale is often described as the longest known mammal migration in the animal kingdom and is easily observed along the California coastline. Beginning in the Bering and Chukchi seas and ending in the warm-water lagoons of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, their round trip journey covers over 12,000 miles. 

As pointed out by our knowledgeable captain, gray whales live as long as humans, and if one lives to be 75 years old, it will have traveled 900,000 miles in its lifetime.

Seasonally, excursions will see over 1,500 gray whales, and in the summer they see blue whales, and year-round fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, and even sharks. Gray whales are found only in the Pacific Ocean, with a population of approximately 26,000. They are medium-sized whales, reaching up to 45 feet (14 m) in length, with the females usually being larger than the males. They are gray with white patches, which mostly consist of areas where barnacles and lice have attached themselves to the whales. 

Extra baggage

Surprisingly, they carry over 400 pounds of these barnacles and whale lice. As identifying features, gray whales have no dorsal (back) fins. Instead, they have a low hump and a series of six to twelve knuckles or bumps. Gray whales are baleen whales, and each has approximately 300 plates of cream-colored baleen hanging from its upper jaw. Two to five throat creases allow their throats to expand during feeding. Sparse hairs are found on the snout, especially in young whales. Their blows are usually low and puffy or heart-shaped. 

A Whale poster

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2020 Festival logo designed by Laguna native Mika Kelly

By late December to early January, the first of the gray whales begin to arrive to the calving lagoons of Baja. By mid-February to mid-March, the bulk has arrived in the lagoons, including those calves born along the way. During these two months, the first gray whales to leave the lagoons are the males and females without calves. Once they have mated, they will begin the expedition back north to their cold water summer feeding grounds which are rich with food. Gray whales are the only baleen whales to feed along the bottom of the seafloor. They scoop up large mouthfuls of sediment and strain small invertebrates through their baleen. 

A new meaning to being half-asleep

Our captain describes their complicated breathing process; whales have to think each time they take a breath. As a result, they sleep only 23 minutes at a stretch, putting one side of their brain asleep at a time, in order to keep the other side active. That side stays awake at a low level of alertness and also signals when to rise to the surface for a fresh breath of air. 

Don’t miss the chance to celebrate the Festival of Whales in a big way; hop aboard a Dana Wharf Whale Watching excursion boat to see and learn about the magnificent creatures that pass through our waters during the longest migration in the animal kingdom. 

Festival of Whales Parade

The Festival of Whales Parade kicks off the two-weekend celebration on Saturday, March 7 at 10 a.m., and for the first time, will travel through the Harbor, beginning at the island side of Island Way and ending at Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive. 

A whale two

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Courtesy of Loriannah Hespe and Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching

Two’s company 

The public can join Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari for 5-star tours featuring underwater viewing pods, fast and fun zodiac, and more. Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching is Orange County’s first whale watching company, and all cruises are narrated by an expert marine naturalist captain who will educate on the abundant ocean life on the coast. 

In addition to the opening parade, activities and events are hosted during the festival that include a street fair, arts and craft shows and sales, classic car exhibits, stand up paddling, sailing, sand sculpting, a cook-off competition, concerts on land and water, environmental education programs, kids activities, culinary delights, beer gardens, and whale watching excursions aboard a variety of vessels. 

Pet Project Foundation will be hosting a new event for both two-legged and four-legged family members to enjoy. On Saturday, March 7 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. outside The Brig Restaurant, sniff, schmooze, and sip craft beer at Pet Project Foundation’s “Whales, Tails, and Ales.” Event highlights include delicious eats, family fun and inflatables, a dog costume contest, opportunity drawings, and local artisan and dog-friendly vendors. Dogs on leashes are welcome and all proceeds benefit Pet Project Foundation and the lost and abandoned pets at the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. 

Attendees can join iHeartYoga for the inaugural “Wisdom of the Whale” meditation workshop on Saturday, March 7 from 7 - 9 p.m. Relaxation specialist Alan Hostetter will lead participants on a transcendental ocean journey in celebration of the beautiful Pacific Ocean 

For more on Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, go to www.danawharf.com/whale-watching/

For more on Captain Dave’s Dolphins, go to www.dolphinsafari.com

For a complete list of Festival activities, click here.


Guest Column

Community Clinic is calm and prepared in the midst of the coronavirus

By Jorge Rubal, CEO & Medical Director, 

Laguna Beach Community Clinic

With the CDC forecasting “major disruptions,” major U.S. cities declaring a state of emergency, and doomsday scenarios playing out on social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if not downright scared about the coronavirus.

The coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it has been designated by the World Health Organization, was first identified in Wuhan, China, where it rapidly spread throughout China and is now appearing sporadically around the globe, including here in Southern California.

We’re still learning how this pathogen is transmitted. However, the primary mode of transmission is believed to resemble how influenza is spread. So the thinking behind the epidemiologic investigation thus far is that the virus is spread person-to-person. The CDC describes this as between people who are in close contact, within about six feet, and through respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These virus-carrying droplets can land on your month, nose or be inhaled, thus transmitting the virus. 

Community Clinic Rubal

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Dr. Jorge Rubal and professional staff at the Community Clinic are calm and prepared in the midst of the coronavirus

It also possible, though not the primary way, to get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching your mouth or nose.

Most cases occur within five days of exposure but incubation can take as long as 14 days, and present with fever and respiratory symptoms. Pneumonia is the most frequent serious manifestation of the virus.

It’s important to know that a diagnosis of COVID-19 is not a death sentence. According to infectious disease experts at Harvard and Yale medical schools, many of the cases are mild, about 80 percent, with patients recovering in two weeks, with more severe cases taking patients four to six weeks to recover.

While the virus appears to have the most severe impact on the elderly and those with medical conditions, particularly respiratory conditions, thankfully the number of infections among children worldwide has been remarkably low.

First responders, medical providers, clinics, and hospitals are preparing. As individuals, there’s a role for you, too.

Practical steps to avoid infection

Here are a few practical things to do and keep in mind in the coming days and weeks.

--Get your news from reliable sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.

--Thoroughly and frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Simple hand washing remains a vital precautionary measure. Check out this YouTube video on the best technique for hand washing put out by the World Health Organization: https://youtu.be/3PmVJQUCm4E.

--Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth area if your hands haven’t been washed or sanitized.

--Be sure to cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue you dispose of immediately.

--At home or in the workplace use standard sprays and wipes to disinfect your counter, desk, and common areas. Practice this disinfecting routine more frequently than you normally would.

--You may be considering wearing a mask, but unless you are a healthcare provider, working directly with vulnerable sectors of the population, or have COVID-19 symptoms, don’t bother. If you aren’t trained in the proper way to wear a mask you’ll be touching your face more often and potentially raising the risk of infection rather than dialing it back. Plus, if you don’t need a medical mask you are decreasing the supply for those who do.

--If you’re sick, stay home; if your children are sick, keep them at home. If you have reason to believe you may have COVID-19, or have been exposed to the virus, contact your healthcare provider for guidance. 

--Make sure you and everyone in your household has received a flu shot. The flu still presents a greater danger than this new virus. A flu shot will help minimize your need to visit a doctor’s office or hospital thus reducing your potential exposure to the virus. It would also help free up medical services for those infected by the virus, in the event it were to spread to our community.

--Make sure all your regular prescriptions are filled. This will allow medical professionals to focus on the treatment of patients with the virus.

--Have a plan to work from home if needed. Stock up on food, supplies, and basic medicines.

--If you’re a business owner, strategize on how to best keep your business running while safeguarding your employees.

--Identify options to make sure your children are cared for in the possible event of temporary daycare or school closures.

--If you’re operating an organization on the front lines of assisting the vulnerable, work closely with your team to step up efforts to adhere to everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs as well as adding new safety measures. This may include training in the use of medical masks, and eye protection.

Spending a little time preparing to reduce your risk not only helps you, but your family, neighbors, co-workers, and our community.


Between the rain

Between the bird

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Photo by Judy Davidson

Beach walkers and bird enjoy the time before the raindrops begin again


Abby Wilmot (11) wins first place in the U12 CATegory in Catmosphere Laguna Foundation’s Kit-Lit Writing Contest

Stu News is delighted to have the exclusive honor of publishing the winning entries in Catmosphere Laguna Foundation’s recent Kit-Lit Writing Contest. 

We’re publishing winner Abby Wilmot’s first-place entry, A Day in the Life of a Cat today; on Friday, we’ll publish the winning entry in the 13 -17 CATegory, MarcAntonio Murillo’s The Cat and the Mice; and next Tuesday, the piece by the winner of the adult CATegory, Bev Elwell’s The Case of the Persistent Pummeler.

Abby is thrilled to be the first-place winner in the under-12 CATegory. “I felt so happy, and surprised at the same time. I really didn’t think I would win, but when I figured out I did, I thought I would explode!” she says.

Abby Wilmot cat

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Abby with her one-eyed cat, Smore – “that’s why she looks as if she’s winking,” Abby says

Judge Rebecca Lyles, editor, author of From the Errors of Others, and writer for Lagunatics, explains why she fell in love with Abby Wilmot’s poem.

A Day in the Life of a Cat uses colors and textures to paint a picture of the cat as it describes her important daily ‘work’ (playing and napping),” Lyles says.

“The quality of the work in general was clever and imaginative, and clearly demonstrated how much people love their feline friends,” she adds.

Entries were judged anonymously.

Abby Wilmot Rebecca

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On the right, judge Rebecca Lyles, with guest Amanda Rabinowitz

“We were thrilled to receive a combined 70 entries for the Kit-Lit Writing and Fe/Line Art Contest,” said Gail Landau, owner and founder of Catmosphere Laguna. 

“In addition to celebrating the wonderful world of cats, the contests also gave us the opportunity to remind people that Catmosphere Laguna’s mission is to save the lives of rescue cats and find them loving homes. As a nonprofit foundation, we depend on the support of the community.” 

“And our Vegan Cafe is the “purrrfect” vantage point for viewing the kitties at play in our Cat Lounge,” she adds.

A Day in the Life of a Cat 

By Abby Wilmot (11)

The sun shone bright against her eyes, making them appear a whirlpool of green and blue.

Her fur glistened of orange, white, and black hues.

The spell of the sun’s heat, put her to sleep.

Cushions of feather and cotton created comfort; in a sleep, she fell deep.

Here she comes, here she comes, here she comes.

With a plate full of turkey, chicken, and breaded fish crumbs.

In a shiny tin bowl, fresh milk of white.

Finally there it was beside her, gone before daylight.

A rainbow selection of string, sat in a woven basket.

Several were thrown, one ended up in the wastebasket.

Stuck to her talons was a long yellow ball of wool string.

However it was off with a swing and a fling.

The mouse’s feet glided against the hickory.

But she could sense his trickery.

His tail was millimeters away; there she had it in her clutch.

He slipped away, just out of her touch.

She was exhausted after a long day.

Of eating, chasing, and play.

She lay down on her owner’s lap.

Ready for a long nap.


Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach update in light of COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, as of Monday, March 16, the doors closed at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. “We are staying in close contact with the CDC, WHO, local health organizations, and local school districts to stay on top of a very fluid situation,” said CEO Pam Estes. “At this time, we do not have any updates on when the club will reopen but will be communicating regularly across our website, email, and social media. The safety and health of our kids and the larger community is our most important priority.”

Even though the rooms at the Boys & Girls Club aren’t filled with our future leaders, recreational activities, or the next emerging artist, staff members are orchestrating a new strategy to support families, educate members, and continue to provide world-class programing. 

Boys & Girls Club 1

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Boys & Girls Club has closed in light of COVID-19

Soon, the Club will implement an innovative eight-week program schedule during which staff, working from home, will stay “virtually” connected with our kids and parents. Thanks to technology, staff, known as Youth Development Professionals, will continue to stay in touch with parents and club members and provide support during these challenging times.

As to be expected, the organization is postponing a number of events. The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach already postponed the annual Community Partners Breakfast until November 4, 2020. The breakfast is a free event that appreciates community supporters who make the agency’s work possible during the year.  

The Club is also postponing the annual Art of Giving Gala scheduled for May 9. According to Estes, “We are exploring different options on how and when our Annual Gala will take place. We will keep everyone up to date as soon as we solidify our arrangements.” Members of the board of directors are evaluating all options, as this signature event is the agency’s largest and most fundraising event.

Boys & Girls Club 2

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Boys & Girls Club seeks community support 

In these trying times the Boys & Girls Club needs the community more than ever. Membership dues cover less than 30 percent of what actual program costs are, and the rest is provided by community supporters. “We need you now more than ever,” said Estes. “We need to be able to support our team, that supports the community’s youth every day. Our Youth Development Professionals have unique relationships with all of our members. We need to continue to support them so they can be at the Club when the doors reopen and continue their amazing work. With all the chaos and fear surrounding the world, a familiar smiling face makes a world of difference at any age but in particular with our youth.”

The organization recently launched The Campaign to Gain as a community-oriented fundraising strategy to support the organization’s work. To make a gift, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org and look under the Give section. “We are calling out to the community and everyone who cares about our kids to share how the organization has impacted their life,” said Michelle Fortezzo, Chief Development Officer.

To make a gift, or to create your own Campaign to Gain webpage, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org and look under Give. For questions about Campaign to Gain, contact Abby Ryan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Liko online

Liko online computer

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Submitted photo

Five-year-old Liko chats with his El Morro Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Sjule, during a group meeting March 26 at 1 p.m. His mother says, “Liko was so happy to see his teacher and classmates for the 30 minute video call. It was very important to connect with his teacher and see other students stuck at home too. We are so grateful to have the resources of Laguna Beach School District during this time. We picked up Liko’s homework and iPad at the district office on Tuesday and have had weekly updates from Principal Duddy.”


Under the red sky

Under the sunset

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Photo by Tom Joliet

 “The redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us.” –Sue Monk Kid , “The Secret Life of Bees”


LB Parents Club presents Easter Egg, Bunny, and Duck Hunt today

All residents are invited to participate in an Easter Egg, Bunny, and Duck Hunt today, Friday, April 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. The Laguna Beach Parents Club is hosting the hunt, similar to the Laguna Safari held last Thursday. The club is opening it up to all the Laguna Beach residents, not just the members of the Parents Club. 

To RSVP, click here; to view a finalized map for the event, click here. 

LB Parents bunny new

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Courtesy of crosswalk.com

Hunt for stuffed animal bunnies, eggs, and ducks today

For more info, contact Kristie Carsten-Hensley at (949) 981-3663.


Phantom sky

Phantom sky clouds

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Masklike, the clouds appear to have eyes


Whoopsie and Daisy

Whoopsie and cats

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Photo by Tom Joliet

Whoopsie and Daisy protecting the Joliets from crows


Laguna’s 2020 Census response rate continues to be low compared to other OC cities

It’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2: The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790. However, this time around, the 2020 Decennial Census might be taking a backseat to the COVID-19. The deadline to participate is August 14, 2020. 

The Census Bureau’s Campaign Manager for Laguna Beach Fay Hezar has indicated that the rate of response in Laguna has been extremely low and continues to be as of an update received this week. 

Laguna Beach ranks number 346 out of 482 cities, with a 52.5 percent response rate, and below the rest of Orange County. 

The 2020 Census will influence community funding and congressional representation for the next decade. Information collected in the census will inform the allocation of more than $675 billion in federal funds for states and communities each year.

Laguna's 2020 people

Courtesy of fcw.com

Go to www.2020census.gov to respond

The most important reasons to participate are: 

--$800 billion in federal government money will be distributed based on census data.

--How many congressional seats each states receive is based on population count.

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. These official Census Bureau mailings included detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online. 

In addition to an invitation to respond, some households received a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the Census form). All the answers to questions about how to respond by mail, online, or by phone are answered at www.2020censusgov

The Census Bureau asks that readers not only respond to the questionnaire but encourage others to do so as well. 

To complete your 2020 Census, go to www.2020censusgov.


May Gray 

May Gray ocean

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Photo by Carole Boller

Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.


Walking for Water to host virtual fundraiser for Wisdom Spring on June 27-28

As readers will remember, this year would have been the 16th Annual Walking for Water event held at the Laguna Beach High School track to raise funds for the nonprofit organization Wisdom Spring. However, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walking for Water will host a two-hour event from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (PST) on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28. For information and to participate, click here.

Club member and LBHS student Tess Brobeck says, “Our walk will be held virtually with our club on the East Coast. Our youth project coordinator, Susan Hough, started the project on the East Coast in Leesburg, Virginia. Although the pandemic caused setbacks in our project, it has also allowed for us to virtually connect with club members on the East Coast.” 

Walking for club

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Susan Hough with current Walking for Water club members 

“Our clubs have been meeting bi-weekly with Susan Hough from Wisdom Spring on Zoom to discuss how we could continue to raise money during these circumstances. We usually have about 30 kids at each meeting where we have all collectively decided to have our ‘walk’ online.”

During the hours of the fundraiser, participants will be able to buy T-shirts designed by club member Ayda Tuncay. Additionally, folks will be able to bid on silent auction items and learn about the club online. Each member of the club will have a one-minute video on the website explaining what the club means to them.

Walking for villagers

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Residents of a village where wells are being installed 

“The goal of our fundraiser is to raise money to build wells and provide education to people living in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ghana) and India. As of 2019, our clubs have raised enough money to build 27 wells in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and in India. After the pandemic is over, we are also scheduled to have two more wells put in India to make it a total of 29 wells. We understand that the pandemic has affected everyone – but especially the people who do not have water.”

Walking for Water is honored to support Wisdom Spring, Inc., in the effort to build wells in rural Africa. Clean water is a luxury in many parts of the world.

To learn more, click here.


Environmental docs tie for first place in the 2020 Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award

An impassioned plea to for a coastal region of Western Australia and a drone pilot helping to save endangered humpback whales tied for the first-place win of this year’s Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award. 

The annual award, presented through the MY HERO International Film Festival, honors filmmakers whose stories honor people working to protect the world’s oceans. 

The award is named for Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world-renowned marine biologist, explorer, and author of more than 200 publications. Earle, who has led more than 100 expeditions, was dubbed “Her Deepness” by the New York Times and named Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet.

The award’s $1,000 cash prize is sponsored by MacGillivray-Freeman Films’ One World One Ocean campaign. One World One Ocean was founded to raise awareness of ocean degradation and to inspire action by showing the beauty of the ocean in its wild and healthy state. With her team, Barbara MacGillivray, Director of Partner Outreach for the organization, chooses the winners each year. 

Environmental docs sitting

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Courtesy of Balagara Films

Mark Jones in “Looking After Our Environment”

Looking After Our Environment: James Price Point, written and directed by Mark Pearce, is one of this year’s winners. In it, eco warrior Mark Jones explains efforts to protect the James Price Point headland area in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia from a large gas partnership with plans to dig up the area. The Kimberley is home to some unique and mysterious species of life in and out of the sea. “You take out one of those pieces and the ecology goes,” explains Jones in the film. 

“Mark Jones, in Looking After Our Environment, makes an impassioned appeal for continuing protection of the Kimberley Region of Western Australia,” says MacGillivray. “Effective environmental work, done by his group Save the Kimberley, along with multiple other concerned local groups, effectively led to stopping one of the biggest fossil-fuel companies from decimating the area in 2013 and that same level of environmental passion continues to maintain the region today in a country beset by environmental challenges, both natural and man-made.”

Environmental docs whale

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Courtesy of oceansunmanned.org

A scene from the film “flyFREE”

The other winning film, freeFLY by filmmaker Avery Bazan, shows a collaborative effort that uses drones to rescue humpback whales that have been entangled by life-threatening debris in the ocean. The drones help with the initial assessment before the large mammals are approached. “By using drones, launched off the response boats, we can get a better look at the whales and figure out what’s going on with less risk to both the responders and the whales,” explains Matt Pickett, founder of the nonprofit Oceans Unmanned. 

“Ed Lyman is featured in freeFLY, as he shows, along with the help of Drone Pilot Matt Pickett, the courage and regimented planning it takes to save the endangered and fascinating humpback whales frequently entangled in discarded and broken fishing lines,” says MacGillivray. “With his 1,300 saves to date, and our own direct experience with Ed’s passion for saving these magnificent 40- to 60-ton animals while making our IMAX film Humpback Whales, we wanted to pay special tribute to both him and NOAA in these challenged environmental times.”

Environmental docs kid

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Courtesy of In-Progress.org

From the film “Water is Sacred”

This year, two student filmmakers were included in the Earle award. Water is Sacred, directed by Kimimila Wahpepah, with mentors Tiana and Wakinyan LaPointe, delves into the importance of water and how indigenous people work to keep the resource safe for future generations. Waterheart and Her Friends, an animated short by Tianna Bluebird, introduces us to Waterheart, a mythical character who wants to clean up the polluted Earth. Each of the young filmmakers wins a $100 prize. 

“I send a special salute to the passion of the two young ocean advocates, Tianna Bluebird and Kimimila Wahpepah, in making their short films,” MacGillivray says. 

The MY HERO Project (www.myhero.com) is a Laguna Beach-based 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to uplift the world’s heroes through stories, music, art, and short films. Submissions of short films are currently being accepted for the MY HERO International Film Festival. Filmmakers of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to apply. Submissions are being accepted for other Special Awards for the 2020 MY HERO International Film Festival.

To submit your film, visit www.myhero.com/films/submitfilm

MacGillivray Freeman Films has produced over 40 IMAX films and garnered two Academy Award nominations. Comprised of specialists in film and digital production, marketing, and distribution, MacGillivray Freeman Films is a team passionate about visual storytelling, innovative cinematography, and the latest advancements in digital technology.

A world-renowned oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle is a great inspiration with her passion and leadership in ocean conservation. As the president of Mission Blue, she supports the work of conservation NGOs that share the mission of building public support for ocean protection.


OC Boys & Girls Clubs do “Whatever It Takes” to build great futures amidst COVID-19 and reopen 

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs across America have helped put young people on the path to great futures by creating safe places, connecting them with caring mentors, and providing life-enhancing programs focused on academics, health, and leadership. As the country came to an abrupt stop with the spread of COVID-19 and communities were asked to stay home and shelter-in-place, Boys & Girls Clubs continue to offer hope and basic needs support for essential workers, families in need, and youth of all ages. Essentially, doing “Whatever It Takes.” To watch the Whatever It Takes video, click here.

In Orange County, 14 Boys & Girls Clubs, spread across 25 cities and 109 sites, are united in continuing to do “Whatever It Takes” as the region begins to reopen and recover during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are committed to helping and supporting the 90,000+ diverse youth they serve to achieve great futures through a tailored approach that meets the needs of each unique community while addressing the five core areas that all Boys & Girls Clubs focus on. These core areas include closing the job skills gap, breaking the cycles of inequality, creating safer childhoods, mentoring tomorrow’s leaders, and making our youth’s voices heard.

In line with these core areas, select Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Orange County will offer a variety of support services for the youth and families of the communities they serve including in-person and virtual programming, telehealth services and wellness checks, grab-n-go STEM activities, access to licensed therapists, food distribution, family resources, literacy and reading programs, and childcare for essential workers. 

OC boys butterflies

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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach member showing the butterflies he made in virtual art class

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us in many different ways,” said Jon Peat, vice chair of Boys & Girls Clubs of Orange Area Council. “But, through these difficult times, we have learned about our collective strength, resilience, and the impact we have on our communities. We have evolved quickly and continue to innovate new ways to serve our members best. The Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County will continue to be an organization that people can count on.” 

The 14 Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County are as follows: 

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, Lake Forest)

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anaheim and Cypress 

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Brea-Placentia-Yorba Linda 

--Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park 

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley (Aliso Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano) 

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Orange, Santa Ana) 

--Boys & Girls Club of Fullerton

--Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley (Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach) 

--Boys & Girls Clubs of La Habra 

--Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast Area (San Clemente) 

--Boys & Girls Club of Stanton 

--Boys & Girls Club of Tustin 

--Boys & Girls Club of Westminster 

The Clubs also seek financial support so they can continue to lead the recovery of their communities, as well as provide critical youth development services. 

For more about Boys & Girls Club Laguna Beach, go to www.bgclagunabeach.org

For information on specific programs, services, and community offerings, and how to donate, visit www.bgcresources.org

For more information on Boys & Girls Club of America, go to www.bgca.org.


California girls – and guys – living it up at the Beach Boys concert at Bluebird Park last Sunday

Photos by Scott Brashier

california girls one

california girls two

california girls three

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Having a ball with Beach Boys music

Check on gallery below for additional photos


Laguna Beach Community & High School Pool kicks off summer schedule on Monday

The Laguna Beach Community & High School Pool offers water polo and swim teams for kids of all ages, water aerobics classes, swim lessons for children of all abilities, and Masters’ swim programs. Summer hours of operation will begin on Monday, June 24.

The pool also offers lap and recreational swim times every day. Laguna Beach High School also uses the pool for their swim and water polo team practices. 

Laguna Beach Community outside

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Submitted photo

Dive in this summer at the Laguna Beach Community & High School Pool 

The new schedule is as follows:

--Monday/Wednesday:

Lap swim 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Rec swim 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Evening lap 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

--Tuesday/Thursday:

Lap swim 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Rec swim 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Evening lap 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

--Friday:

Lap swim 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Rec swim 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

--Saturday:

Lap swim 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Rec swim 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

--Sunday:

Lap swim 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Rec swim 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To learn more, contact Tierney Doran, Aquatics Coordinator, at (949) 497-0788 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The pool is located across the street from LBHS, at 670 Park Ave.


Global Cinema at Susi Q kicks off today, focuses on outcasts

Susi Q’s Global Cinema kicks off its 10-week summer session today, Tuesday, June 25 at 12:30 p.m. Instructor Kathryn Kramer, winner of the American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Prize and Irvine Valley College’s 2017 Emeritus Teacher of the Year, offers selections with compelling narrative structures based on character-driven plots. 

True stories inspired half of this summer’s schedule, including some personal favorites Annette Bening’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Global Cinema couple

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Courtesy of time.com

“Film Stars Don’t Die” in Liverpool plays on July 30

Becoming Astrid explores the adolescent period of Astrid Lindgren’s life before Pippi Longstocking became a children’s lit phenomenon. The Cat’s Meow casts Eddie Izzard as Charles Chaplin, for which he won stellar reviews.

The cost is $40 per person for 10 weeks; a drop-in single class is $5. Register at the front desk at the Susi Q. Use City of Laguna Beach registration forms with checks payable to the “City of Laguna Beach.” 

Global Cinema field

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Courtesy of Rogerebert.com

“Becoming Astrid” explores the adolescent period of Astrid Lindgren’s life

The full film schedule includes:

--June 25 – Twin Sisters (2002, Holland, 138 min.) – Based on the Dutch best seller De Tweeling. Directed by Ben Sombogaart (Bride Flight). 

--July 2 – Bride Flight (2008, Holland/New Zealand, 130 min.) – Three women head to New Zealand for marriage; drawn from the true stories of women aboard the victorious KLM race of 1953.

--July 9 – Disobedience (2018, UK, 114 min.) – Returning to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her, a woman confronts her sexuality. Stars Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola.

--July 16 – The Horse Thief (1986, Tibet, 88 min.) – Language Mandarin, English subtitles.

--July 23 – A Prophet (2009, France, 155 min.) – A teen gets tossed into a prison ruled by the Corsican Mafia. Won 50 awards.

--July 30 – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017, UK, 105 min.) – Annette Bening stars as Gloria Grahame in a memoir by her younger lover Peter Turner (Jamie Bell).

--August 5 – Pure (2003, UK, 96 min) – Stars Molly Parker and Keira Knightley. Won 4 awards.

--August 12 – Becoming Astrid (2018, Sweden, 123 min.) – A pregnant teen becomes an author.

--August 17 – Truman (2015, Spain, 108 min.) – Stars Ricardo Darin as a man who receives an unexpected visit from a friend.

--August 24 – The Cat’s Meow (2001, USA, 114 min.) – Peter Bogdanovich reimagines an ill-fated weekend aboard Hearst’s star-studded yacht party. Kirsten Dunst shines as Marion Davies.

The Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.


Summer celebration 

Summer celebration main beach

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

School’s out for summer, the fun begins


LBGOP announces July 25 meeting featuring Steve Dicterow and Heather Allen

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will hold its next meeting on Thursday, July 25 at Mozambique, featuring guest speakers Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow and Heather Allen of the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

Social hour begins at 5 p.m.; the meeting will begin at 6 and end promptly at 7:15.

LBGOP announces Steve

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Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow will speak at LBGOP meeting on July 25

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP, invites all Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians to listen to the speakers. “Leading off the evening Laguna Beach City Councilman Steve Dicterow will speak to us about what he is doing to help make Laguna a well-managed city, current issues before the council, and what we can do to help him.

“After Steve, Heather Allen will update us on the significant changes in the Gun and Ammunition Laws in California as of July 1 and why it’s important to know how to fire and own a gun. There will be sufficient time for Q&A.”

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as space is limited.

Mozambique is located at 1740 South Coast Hwy.


Kids, seniors benefit from grant to LOCA

LOCA Arts Education is the proud recipient of a major grant from the Festival of Arts FOA Foundation. The grant will enable LOCA to continue its free and affordable programs throughout Laguna Beach in fall 2019 and spring 2020.

LOCA serves hundreds annually in all age groups including those aged 50 and up at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center, as well as pre-school and kindergarten children at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

Kids, seniors painting

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LOCA teaches workshops at all LBUSD schools thanks to a grant from the FOA Foundation

Students at Laguna Beach Unified School District campuses benefit from LOCA’s Arts in Schools combined learning program. Projects, designed to complement academic curriculum, include printmaking from fish drawings and plant studies using oil pastels, tissue paper collage, and more.

“We thank the FoA Foundation for enabling us to continue educating our entire community,” said LOCA President Carla Meberg.

To learn more about LOCA, visit www.locaarts.org.


Royan Jewelry hosts grand opening celebration on Thursday

From contemporary sterling and fashion designers to fine jewelry, Royan Jewelry just opened right in the heart of downtown Laguna. To celebrate, owner Roya Nassirian is hosting an afternoon of fun on Thursday, Sept 12 from 5 - 9 p.m. at 490 S Coast Hwy.

The festivities will include a Freida Rothman Trunk Show for fall 2019, and there will be drinks, appetizers, and lots of surprises.

Royan Jewlelry close up owner

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Roya Nassirian, owner and designer, Royan Jewelry

Royan Jewelry is a hidden gem, unexpected yet sophisticated for any eye. It was started by Roya Nassirian, who has been designing and handcrafting her own jewelry for several years. She creates her own handmade pieces, as well as curates a selection of items from national designers such as Julie Vos, Freida Rothman, and more. Call her a romantic, old-fashioned, or sentimental – Royan Jewelry is about all of that and more. She loves unique, inspired objects and surrounds herself with antiques, works of art, and pictures that inspire her work.

Royan Jewelry store

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Royan Jewelry

Since Roya designs and handmakes a selection of jewelry locally, she has transformed the store and her creations into perfect Laguna Beach treasures. Stop by the new store to see the constantly evolving collections and find the perfect piece. There are different pieces for everyone, from delicate sterling silver, to unique one-of-a-kind statement pieces, to top quality fine jewelry. 

 As inspiration for her collection, she took time to visit her favorite flea markets, museums, and art galleries. Her jewelry is inspired from all her travels and all of the unique art forms that she has seen and loved.

 Attendees are asked to RSVP to reserve a place at (949) 376-1900 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 For more information on Royan Jewelry, go to www.RoyanJewelry.com.


The business of arts is flourishing at Laguna Beach art festivals

By Shari Battle and Sharbie Higuchi

The summer arts scene in Laguna Beach is a model for what’s possible when the public and private sector collaborate with nonprofits to help sustain the city’s artistic economic engine. Visitor and resident spending at the festivals generates approximately $2 million annually in local and state revenue and supports 500 artists and employment for more than 615 positions. 

Any art lover knows that a lot goes on behind the scenes to make any exhibit or work stand out. Here in Laguna, one of the festivals’ main private sector sponsors for more than ten years has been Bank of America, which recognizes that the arts matter as important economic and cultural drivers for Southern California. 

The Business FOA

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Festival of Arts 2019

The bank has provided nearly a half-million dollars to support the Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, and the Passports to the Arts program. The grants have made it possible for the festivals to subsidize a portion of the summer city’s trolley services and remote parking areas expenses, to market Passports to the Arts to residents and visitors, and expand artistic programs.

Last year alone, the trolley ridership exceeded 850,000, and the remote lots ensure ample parking options during the peak tourism season.

Bank of America grants also enable each festival to redirect funds from their operating budgets towards artistic uses to expand their summer arts education programs, both hands-on art projects and artist demonstrations. This affords new art educational opportunities, events, and awareness that drive community spending and economic impact.

The Business Hugo

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Visitors view exhibits at 2019 Festival of the Arts

For just $29, the Passport to the Arts offered unlimited admission all summer long to each of the three festivals affording Passport patrons access to more than 500 artists, 300 hands-on art workshops, and dozens of special events and one-time free parking in the ACT V parking lot. Grant funding for expanded marketing efforts has increased demand for the Passport and ultimately helps to increase consumer spending at the festivals and at other city businesses.

With partners like Bank of America, the business of arts is flourishing at Laguna Beach’s art festivals.

Shari Battle is Senior Vice President, Orange County Market Manager for Bank of America, and Sharbie Higuchi is Marketing and Public Relations Director for the Festival of Arts.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Chalk one up in the win column for Maggi. Looks like she stumped our readers with this artfully designed bench – in Heisler Park. Maggi says, “The walk along Heisler Park is full of little hidden art treasures. It’s got to be my favorite place to walk, though there are so many in Laguna!”

Look for her next photo challenge on Friday. And we can’t let her get another win!   

Wheres Maggi 9 24 19

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This sea life bench can be found in Heisler Park


Laguna Beach Interscholastic Mountain Bike Team welcomes new riders on Oct 22

The Laguna Beach Interscholastic Mountain Bike Team is welcoming new riders at a kickoff meeting on Tuesday, Oct 22 at 7 p.m. at The Ranch. 

High School riders

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Kickoff event will be held on Tuesday, Oct 22

Team Director Fiona Petersen says, “We are having our kickoff meeting on Tuesday, Oct 22 at The Ranch. All levels of riders are welcome to our practices at TOW on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (3:30 to 5 p.m.). We ride mostly in Aliso Woods Canyon and currently have 15 - 20 kids, ranging from 6th graders (level 1) through JV 2. The mountain bike season starts in December and includes five races between March and May.” 

High School team

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Laguna Beach Interscholastic Mountain Bike Team

The Ranch is located at 31106 Coast Hwy. 

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachmtb.org.


Animal advocate Judie Mancuso’s Social Compassion in Legislation’s 2019 wrap-up

By DIANNE RUSSELL

As readers may remember from her Laguna Life and People story, Judie Mancuso’s passionate mission is “to get the word out for animals.” She accomplishes it in a groundbreaking way – by fighting to create legislation that protects and saves the lives of animals. She has long been recognized as a leading advocate in California’s battle for animal protection laws. 

In the 12 years since founder, CEO, and president Mancuso started Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, 17 bills have been put into law in California that have significantly changed the lives of animals long term. Her organization sponsors and supports landmark legislation that promotes the care, rights, and protection of animals. 

Governor Newsom had until October 13 to sign or veto all bills that came to his desk. SCIL started the year with 11 sponsored bills.

Mancuso says, “We want to thank each and every author for carrying these bills for us. Without their leadership and commitment, we cannot make the progress that we do for animals in California and beyond.

“First the good news. We are excited and thank Governor Newsom for signing these three bills into law.” 

Animal advocate with Dinky

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Judie Mancuso, founder of SCIL, with Dinky Pooh, one of her dogs

Bills signed into law by Governor Newsom

AB 273 (Gonzalez) Ban on Fur Trapping: “This is a huge success, and a dream come true. When we worked on banning bobcat trapping back in 2015, I never felt good about leaving the other species behind, so to speak. Getting this bill done and being the first state to ban ALL commercial and recreational trapping is amazing. As a co-sponsor, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), with their science and lobbying resources, were great to work with throughout the entire process.”

AB 1260 (Maienschein) Endangered Species/Exotic Skins: “We are so grateful to get this one into law too. Adding seven species to a sales ban list of animals that includes pythons, kangaroos, whales, and many other species, coupled with winning the fight to kill the exemption on alligators and crocodiles, is a win bigger than we could have imagined. Penal code 653o will cover protecting alligators and crocodiles starting in 2020 and the following species starting in 2022: iguana, skink, caiman, hippopotamus, and Teju, Ring, or Nile lizard.”

SB 313 (Hueso) Circus Cruelty Prevention Act: “This takes the circus performers out of the big tent that do not have a choice in being there. I remember the first time I saw a PETA undercover video on a Ringling Bros. Circus trainer beating an elephant with a bullhook and the horrific cries and sounds of it. I saw that video in the early 1990s; I had no idea how cruel the circus was until then. I am so proud to get this done with our co-sponsor PETA, who has spearheaded this issue from the beginning – decades ago. It feels so good to disconnect California from this cruelty in entertainment.”

Vetoed bills 

SB 64 (Chang) Pet Microchipping: “This would have mandated all reclaimed or adopted pets leaving an animal shelter be microchipped. The governor vetoed because of a perceived burden on ‘those who may already be struggling with the basic cost of caring for their pets.’ We will work to address his concerns in order to get his signature. The bill got unanimous votes throughout the legislative process, so, this should be an easy fix in order to get signed into law.”

AB 733 (Quirk) Fish Toxicity Test: “Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row this compassionate bill has been vetoed, with a veto message about the underfunded Department of Toxic Substances Control. From here, we and our partner and co-sponsor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), will work directly with the department, rather than through the legislature, to see how we can get them to move away from this horrid animal test.”

Animal advocate Judie and friends

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(L-R) Judie Mancuso, Governor Newsom, and SCIL supporter Dr. Gary Michelson after meeting on Oct 23 

SB 202 (Wilk) Animal Blood Donors: “After receiving unanimous votes throughout the legislative process, Senate Bill 202 was vetoed by Governor Newsom. His veto message claimed that the bill does not go far enough in shutting down closed-colony blood banks. While his veto ensures a continued animal blood shortage in the state in the near term by preventing animals that live with their owners to give blood at commercial blood banks, we are glad that he is willing to shift away from the closed-colony blood banking model in California. 

“We wholeheartedly agree that those close-colonies should be transitioned to the humane model, but there exists a blood shortage in California now. In order to get the necessary supply of animal blood in the market, opening up the state to community-sourced blood banks starting in 2020 was critical. We still believe the Governor could have signed SB 202, began the process of getting community blood banks up and running and supplying blood, and still sent the message that closed-colony blood banks should be phased out, but appreciate his willingness to work towards a more compassionate California.”

Mancuso recently met with Governor Newsom to discuss his veto in more detail and came out of the meeting encouraged that SCIL can get an animal blood banking bill that is good for both pets that need the blood and the animal donors to his desk in 2020.

For complete details on the Senate bills with other outcomes, go to www.socialcompassioninlegislation.org.


Visit Laguna Beach launches “Pathway to Zen,” the first destination-wide wellness trail

Today, Visit Laguna Beach launched “Pathway to Zen,” a one-of-a-kind wellness trail for artists, adventurers, experience collectors, and mindful travelers seeking rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul. 

For the six million visitors traveling to Laguna Beach each year, “Pathway to Zen” is mapped out on Visit Laguna Beach’s website and showcases 12 year-round stops to experience aura readings, chakra massages, laughter yoga, natural foods, organic beauty products, mind-blowing hikes, crystal shops, and more. Experiences range from free to five-star, so regardless of your vibe, “Pathway to Zen” has something for everyone. 

Visit Laguna yoga

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Visit Laguna Beach launches “Pathway to Zen” 

“’Pathway to Zen’ is the embodiment of the magic of Laguna Beach and its transformative, healing powers,” said Ashley Johnson, president & CEO of Visit Laguna Beach. “We want our visitors to experience more than just a day trip to the beach. By following the ‘Pathway to Zen,’ they will experience a world-class destination that offers unique and immersive opportunities by local business owners with deep roots in the community and a passion for holistic living.”

Settled and founded as an artist’s colony and one of California’s first hippie dens, Laguna Beach is the perfect place for anyone seeking connection with nature, self, and community – a market that now resonates with a diverse audience group ranging from Millennials to Boomers who want to get away from it all, or into it all. 

The “Pathway to Zen” guide and special deals can be found at www.visitlagunabeach.com

Visit Laguna Beach is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit destination marketing organization that promotes Laguna Beach as a premier leisure and small meeting destination. 

Formed in 1986, Visit Laguna Beach is celebrating 33 years of commitment to Laguna Beach and the tourism industry, with its offices located at 361 Forest Ave, Suite 200 and the Official Visitors Center at 381 Forest Ave. 

The Visitors Center is open daily, Monday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


City invites community to participate in Evacuation Time Estimate Study 

On July 23, the City Council unanimously approved the Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Subcommittee’s report along with its 44 recommendations. One of these recommendations was to conduct a comprehensive evacuation time estimate study.

The City awarded the contract to KLD Engineering, a firm that specializes in evacuation time estimates including those communities with wildfire risk. 

In order to gather demographic and transportation data, KLD Engineering has created an online survey that will capture specific information from our community that is necessary for the report. The survey should only take about 10 minutes and can be accessed at www.lagunabeachsurvey.kld.engineering

Additionally, KLD will be at the following locations, during the listed dates and times, if you prefer to take the survey in person:

-- Pavillions, 600 North Coast Hwy: Thursday, Nov 14 from 9 a.m. - noon; Friday, Nov 15 from 9 a.m. - noon; and Saturday, Nov 16 from 4 - 7 p.m. 

--Whole Foods Market, 263 Broadway St: Saturday, Nov 16 from 9 a.m. – noon and 4 - 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov 17 from 9 a.m. - noon. 

--Ralphs, 700 South Coast Hwy: Friday, Nov 15 from 9 a.m. - noon and 4 - 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov 17 from 9 a.m. - noon

--Gelson’s, 30922 South Coast Hwy: Thursday, Nov 14 from 8 - 11 a.m.; Friday, Nov 15 from 4 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov 16 from 8 to 11 a.m. 

For more information on the study, contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0389.


Laguna Presbyterian Church hosts holiday grief class on Monday

People dealing with loss are invited to a program to help them navigate the upcoming holiday season. “Grief at the Holidays” is an informal afternoon gathering that will be offered at Laguna Presbyterian Church on Monday, Nov 4, from 4 - 5:30 p.m. in the ground floor Brides’ Room. 

The casual setting will address reducing stress and how to deal with difficult or awkward situations during the holiday season. There will be time for individual sharing and concerns, as well as brainstorming on ways to navigate through the upcoming season. 

Laguna Presbyterian flowers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Presbyterian hosts holiday grief gathering on Monday

The holiday season, with its emphasis on joyful gatherings, can be extra challenging to people suffering from the loss of a loved one. The emphasis on treasured time together is a difficult message for grieving people to hear. Long-held traditions seem different when a family member or close friend is gone. Death leaves a long impression on people left behind even years later. 

The free program, which is open to all people in the community, will be conducted by experienced grief counselors Deborah Sakach and Rev. Jon Moore. No RSVP is necessary, but anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the office at (949) 494-7555 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on the church, visit www.lagunapreschurch.org

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave. Free parking is available for program attendees in the church parking lot on Third Street.


Enhance Your Life: Woman’s Club presents Women’s Health and Wellness series on Nov 19

Over the next few months, the Woman’s Club Laguna Beach will present “Enhance Your Life,” three, two-hour programs spotlighting women’s health and wellness. Designed to provide helpful insights presented in unique ways, the series focuses on different aspects of participants’ overall life goals and physical wellness. The programs are open to both Woman’s Club members and the community.

The series begins on Tuesday, Nov 19 (5:30 - 7:30 p.m.). During the “Reaching Optimal Health” program, participants will learn about anti-aging tips and how everyday foods play a role in health. The speaker will be Marcela Owen, a Certified Health and Life Coach. 

In addition, speaker Michelle Schneider, a Certified Natural Alternative Specialist and Medical Protocols, will explain how to use essential oils to improve health and wellness. 

Certified Clinical Thermographer Dana Baze will discuss how to understand Thermography in supporting women’s health.

Enhance your drawing

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 “Enhance Your Life” series kicks off on Tuesday, Nov 9

On Thursday, Jan 16 (5:30 - 7:30 p.m.), the focus is “Setting Goals for Life Experiences.” In an interactive group setting, participants will create their own personal vision board to identify, clarify, and maintain focus on specific life goals – aiming to make 2020 the best year ever. The speaker will be Michelle Schneider, Certified Natural Alternative Specialist/Medical Protocols and Marcela Owen, Certified Health and Life Coach. 

On Thursday, March 12 (5:30 - 7:30 p.m.), the topic will be “Women’s Health – A Healthier World.”

Attorney Veronica Gray, a high performing, effective speaker, trainer, and mentor, will discuss women’s health and wellness, gender equality, and the role of women in life at the upcoming by-invitation-only Women4Impact Conference in Bhutan. She will share these and other topics concerning women on a global basis. 

The Woman’s Club is located at 286 St. Ann’s Dr. 

The cost for each event is $20. 

Light refreshments will be available as well as a wine bar accepting donations.

RSVP to www.wclb.org/events.

For more information, contact Marcela Owen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna Beach Historical Society presents Early Homesteaders of Laguna Beach on Dec 4

The next Laguna Beach Historical Society program, Early Homesteaders of Laguna Beach, will be presented on Wednesday, Dec 4 at the Susi Q and Community Center from 7:30 - 9 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.).

Narrated by Carol Viebeck Lloyd, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Henry Rogers, the fifth homesteader of Laguna Beach, the program explains his journey to Laguna. Carol will be talking about her early pioneering family and how in 1873, her great-great-great-grandfather came to Orange County from Galena, Illinois, after having read advertisements that shared, “California, for better health and a better climate.” 

Laguna Beach homesteader

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Courtesy of LB Historical Society

Carol Viebeck Lloyd’s great-great-great-grandfather, Henry Rogers, who was a homesteader of 160 acres from Temple Hills over to Bluebird Canyon

After settling here a bit longer, he soon wrote back to his wife, Elisabeth Jane, to “Sell everything, get all the family and friends together who want to come, and come.” 

In her talk, Carol will be sharing about how on April 18, 1874, Henry’s wife, 44-year-old Elisabeth, arrived with 22 other family members and friends on the transcontinental railroad, soon settling in Laguna Beach. Henry eventually acquired 160 acres of land in Laguna in 1878, which stretched from Temple Hills to Bluebird Canyon. 

Laguna Beach house

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Courtesy of LB Historical Society

The old ranch house that was built by Carol Viebeck Lloyd’s great-great-uncle George that sits on the site that is currently City Hall

A drawn image – a partial part of the homestead map that Carol’s mother made with her – will be for sale the night of the presentation with proceeds benefitting the Laguna Beach Historical Society. 

Susi Q is located at 380 Third St.

For more information about the historical society, go to www.lagunabeachhistory.org.


Laguna Beach celebrates its heroes at 2019 Laguna Hero Fest

Laguna Beach locals gathered this month for the annual Laguna Hero Fest, presented by The MY HERO Project. The event, which is celebrating its 12th year, honors heroes who have made their positive mark on our community. This year’s Hero Fest took place November 16 at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

There was something for everyone – art activities for the kids, Laughter Yoga for everyone, a dance performance that had all ages kicking up their heels, and screenings of engaging, family-friendly short films. 

Former MY HERO Emerging Artist Trey Carlisle, along with other Soka University students, demonstrated Hip Hop dance moves and choreographed a dance that got the audience on their feet. Victoria Murphy, Director of the MY HERO Gallery, helped local students with an art project – crafting statues of birds, similar to the statues awarded by the film festival each year. 

What If, a documentary directed by Noah Berlow, presented Illumination Foundation’s creative housing solutions for Orange County’s homeless population. Laguna Beach teen Whitney Winefordner sang her original song “My Blue Heart,” which she dedicated to oceanographer Sylvia Earle. She concluded her performance with her rendition of “What a Wonderful World It Would Be”

Laguna Beach Marc

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Filmmaker Marc Ostrick and family

Filmmaker Marc Ostrick shared Made in Madras, a touching film about a teenage girl who is training to become a professional soccer player, while living on the streets of a poor community in India. The film was made during MY HERO’s Global Exchange in India – a program funded by the nonprofit Video Volunteers and a grant from the U.S. Department of State. 

Ostrick was the lead mentor for the project in which graduate-level filmmakers created hero-themed films. Made in Madras was chosen as the People’s Choice Award winner of the 2019 MY HERO International Film Festival. Also, at the Hero Fest, Ostrick was revealed as this year’s recipient of MY HERO’s Media Arts Educator Award.

Pam Estes, Chief Executive Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, was named Community Hero of 2019 for her ongoing support of local youth. Since joining the organization in 2001, the Boys & Girls Club has grown from serving 850 local kids to more than 4,000. 

Sponsors for the event included the City of Laguna Beach, Stu News Laguna, KX 93.5, and the FOA Foundation.

The MY HERO Project is a Laguna Beach-based organization with a mission to celebrate heroes from all walks of life. For more information about the Laguna Hero Fest, visit www.myhero.com/laguna. To learn learn more about hosting a hero fest in your city, email Jeanne Meyers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To watch highlights from the 2019 Hero Fest, click here.


Solitary sailboat

Solitary sailboat orange

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Solo sailor on the blue sea


Chabad announces Chanukah community events starting Dec 17

On Tuesday, Dec 17, Chabad of Laguna Beach presents a JUDA Kids Chanukah Olive Press Workshop at 4:30 p.m. It’s all about the miracle of the oil. See how olive oil is made with an authentic oil press and enjoy atke munching, dreidles, Chanukah story, crafts, and fun. Bring an unwrapped gift to be donated to needy families. The cost is $8. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The event is open to kids of all ages 

Join Chabad on Sunday, Dec 22 at 2 p.m. at the cobblestones for Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Gelt Drop, as our very own firefighters shower the crowd with chocolate gelt (coins) from high above their engine ladders.

The event will feature DJ Eldad, music and dancing, crafts for the kids, face painting, hot latkes, dignitary greetings, and the lighting of the Surfboard Menorah. Admission is free.

Chabad announces Chanukah

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Chabad will host Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Gelt Drop on Dec 22 at Main Beach

On Monday, Dec 23 at 4 p.m. Chabad will host Chanukah at The Hive. There will be a Menorah lighting, latkes, dreidles, crafts, and gelt for the kids. The Hive is located at 859 Laguna Canyon Rd (near Laguna Beach Beer Company). 

On Sunday, Dec 29, Chabad presents a Jewish Heritage Night/Chanukah with the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. There will be Chabad group discounted tickets, pre-game Menorah Lighting and activities, post-game broomball on the Duck’s rink, and a Chanukah message on the Jumbotron. Pre- game festivities begin at 3:30 p.m.; the game time is at 5:30 p.m. Contact the Chabad office at (949) 499 0770 to reserve your tickets. 

Chabad invites the community to a Menorah Lighting for Montage Resort guests at 6 p.m. throughout week of Chanukah (except Friday). 

Chabad is located at 30804 South Coast Hwy. 

For more information, visit www.chabadoflaguna.com or call (949) 499 0770.


PMMC partners with Seacrest Studios to bring “Healing Seals” content to children currently undergoing treatment in hospitals

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) hosts monthly distance learning education programs with Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) through the “Healing Seals” initiative. 

It is one of three hospitals throughout the United States that PMMC has worked with through a partnership with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation and its Seacrest Studios, the Foundation’s in-hospital multimedia centers.

PMMC previously facilitated programs at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. PMMC and BCH’s most recent collaboration on December 10th was shown to up to 400 children, as it was broadcast throughout the hospital including patient rooms and waiting rooms. 

Healing Seals is a live, interactive, web-based program that provides engaging and educational opportunities for children currently undergoing treatment at pediatric hospitals. 

PMMC partners sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

PMMC and Seacrest Studios are partners in bringing “Healing Seals” content to children currently undergoing treatment in hospitals 

The content revolves around PMMC’s marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation program. Each presentation strives to enhance the children’s lives and support their healing process while they are in the hospital. Specifically, seeing recovered animals return to a normal life at sea may provide a sense of hope that children can draw upon and use as inspiration in their own recovery. 

In addition, throughout their virtual visit, children explore concepts in marine science, marine and freshwater conservation, as well as careers in the field of science.

“It has been a real pleasure partnering with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center over the last few years,” said Lauren Wilson with Seacrest Studios at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Patients are able to relate to the animals they are learning about as the seals at the PMMC are going through some of the same things that they are going through here at BCH. There have been several occasions where we have had patients visit the Seacrest Studio, for the PMMC program, who have had NG tubes in place...these patients truly light up when they learn that some of the seals need NG tubes for nutrition, too! The connections and ways that they relate to these animals is really special...We have seen patients and families take away some really inspirational messages from the program and we look forward to continuing this partnership through 2020.”

Healing Seals is a free, donor funded program that grew out of PMMC’s distance learning initiative for school classrooms. PMMC continues to look for new hospitals with which to partner.

For more information on these programs, contact Kirsten Donald at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To watch the Healing Seals presentation, visit www.pacificmmc.org.


Nestor’s New Year’s resolutions

Nestor's New cat

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Photo by Leonard J. Porto III

Nestor contemplates his 2020 goals, “I think mice are rather nice.”


Cloud calligraphy 

Cloud calligraphy pink

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Wispy clouds write on the canvas of the sky


Learn to declutter with the Laguna Beach Library and expert Sandy Park on Jan 18

Laguna Beach Library will host a special decluttering workshop, led by Tidy with Spark’s Sandy Park, on Saturday, Jan 18 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Tidy with Spark is a Southern California-based home organization and decluttering service using the KonMari Method to create order and joy in the personal homes and lives of individuals. 

Founder and Owner Sandy Park supports clients through “tidying marathons,” guiding them through the five categories of the method. Through personalized and individualized decluttering sessions, Sandy helps clients identify their ideal lifestyle and create their vision for living their best life.

Learn to Sandy

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Certified KonMari™ Consultant Sandy Park knows first-hand about the life-changing magic of tidying up

As a Certified KonMari™ Consultant, Sandy has undergone a rigorous certification program, expertly trained by Marie Kondo. Being a Certified KonMari Consultant is more than a career for Sandy. It is also a lifestyle and philosophy she incorporates into her everyday life.

CPA turned Certified KonMari™ Consultant Sandy Park knows first-hand about the life-changing magic of tidying up. Through her own personal tidying marathon, Sandy did the ultimate Konmari™ and Konmari’d her career.

With a strong accounting background, Sandy advanced in her accounting career through auditing to financial reporting to industry accounting. While moving up the ranks in the accounting industry, Sandy could not deny something was missing in her career pursuits: joy.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Sandy applied the “spark joy” concept beyond the boundaries of her home. She applied the KonMari Method™ across all areas of her life. Once she decluttered her home and life, Sandy was able to add joy back into her life through pursuing and attaining her KonMari™ Certification in 2019.

As an organizing expert, Sandy utilizes her extensive accounting background of organizing finances to support clients in organizing their homes. Her unique perspective on problem solving with numbers is evident as she helps clients problem solve the pain points in their homes. 

Outside of tidying, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children. As a vegetarian foodie, she can be found exploring Orange County one bite at a time.

She recently moved to the Orange County from Austin in 2018. Sandy is a longtime Texan and attended the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with an accounting degree. 

Being a first-time entrepreneur has been rewarding and has been responsible for so much of her personal growth in 2019. 

The KonMari Method is an in-home decluttering method created by professional organizer and international best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Marie Kondo, which inspired a reality television series on Netflix. 

Join the Laguna Beach Library to learn how to transform your home and office to the clutter free space of your dreams.

The program is free, and all ages are welcome.

For more information, contact Niloo Shiraz at (949) 497-1733. 

The Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 Glenneyre St.


OC Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Team assists with sheltering 161 people during first year 

 The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Homeless Outreach Teams assisted with sheltering 161 people in temporary and permanent housing through various resources during their first full year of service in 2019. 

The cities and areas reached include: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Harbor Patrol, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, North Operations, OCTA, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Southeast Operations, Southwest Operations, Stanton, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda. 

The Homeless Outreach Teams consist of 25 deputies and sergeants working as Homeless Liaison Officers. The teams are dedicated and trained to recognize the need for the rapid provision of resources to the homeless community. 

Deputies receive additional training on recognizing and relating to those suffering from mental illness and how to connect the homeless population with available services and resources.

The Sheriff’s Department’s approach to homelessness is a balance of outreach and enforcement. In 2019, in addition to the 161 individuals sheltered, the Homeless Outreach Teams conducted 3,764 field interviews, made 719 arrests, and issued 735 citations. 

As these figures do not include contacts by deputies working in a patrol capacity, the total field interviews, arrests, and citations issued to homeless individuals is likely higher.

“We have been very proactive in addressing homelessness in our communities,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “We are actively engaging with individuals who are experiencing homelessness to provide outreach to those who are interested and enforce non-status violations of law. While respecting the constitutional rights of all individuals regardless of their housing status, we are dedicated to the safety and security of our residents.

“Homelessness is a community issue. Despite hurdles such as criminal justice reform, court rulings, and a lack of available housing and shelters, we will work collaboratively with cities, the County, service providers, nonprofits, and the public. Ending homelessness will require us to work jointly and address root causes like mental illness and drug addiction. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will continue to take a proactive approach toward ending homelessness and its impacts.”


Michael Gamerl to speak about homelessness at UUFLB on Sunday

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach (UUFLB) invites the public to hear guest speaker Michael Gamerl on Sunday, Jan 26 at 10:30 a.m.

Treasurer and Board Member of Friendship Shelter and the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) in Laguna Beach, Michael Gamerl will look at the new challenges, goals, and accomplishments in helping the local homeless population. 

The Friendship Shelter’s goal is to end homelessness, one person at a time, in South Orange County. Toward that end, it has added more than 80 units of Permanent Supportive Housing locally, with more units in development. 

Unitarian Universalist Michael

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Michael Gameri will speak about homelessness at UUFLB on Sunday 

Last year, the ASL opened a daytime program and revised the number of homeless being served. In providing a full complement of services to the most vulnerable homeless people in our community, the programs follow the framework of three, evidence-based practices: housing first, then harm reduction, then recovery. 

Besides meals and a place to sleep, the ASL offers showers, clean laundry facilities, and case workers to connect homeless people with services and resources. In the past decade, the organization has worked to end homelessness for more than 10,000 people. 

Generally, each night more than 160 homeless and formerly homeless people sleep safe, warm, and cared for due to one of the programs offered by the Friendship Shelter and the ASL. 

For additional information about the event, contact Rachel Daniel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (310) 714-2699. 

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach is located at 429 Cypress Dr.


SchoolPower hosts Shine dinner dance and auction at Montage to benefit local students

SchoolPower, Laguna Beach’s Education Foundation, will host its highly anticipated 35th Annual Dinner Dance and Auction at Montage Laguna Beach on Saturday, Feb 8.

More than 300 members of the Laguna Beach community will come together with a goal to raise over $300,000 to enhance the educational experience of students at Laguna Beach’s four public schools. 

This year’s theme, Shine, spotlights the work our educators do to ensure Laguna students are engaged in real-life problem solving to prepare them for the world ahead.

SchoolPower hosts couple

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska, Blue Sky’s Studio

Supporters Ashley and Spencer Samuelian at SchoolPower’s 34th Annual Dinner Dance

The event’s online silent auction will include a range of tempting products and unique experiences generously donated by local businesses and families, and for the first time, grant requests directly from Laguna Beach teachers, counselors, and coaches. 

These grants include equipment for the El Morro kindergarten playground, English and foreign language classroom libraries, magnet kits for elementary STEM labs, training clinics, and equipment for LBHS sports including golf, lacrosse, cross country, track, and swim teams, and lunchtime student support workshops at Thurston Middle School.

SchoolPower hosts Brashier

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska, Blue Sky’s Studio

SchoolPower Events Manager Elaine Brashier and husband Craig Brashier pose in front of the Wall of Wine at SchoolPower’s 34th Annual Dinner Dance

Anyone – attending the event or not – can participate in the auction by texting “schoolpower” to 243725, where they can sign in to bid on items including jewelry from Fredric H. Rubel, glamping at Zion National Park, and fourth row Clippers tickets, as well as donate directly to help fund teacher grants.

“The hope is that SchoolPower supporters will continue to bid on our wonderful auction items but also contribute directly to our teacher grants,” says SchoolPower Endowment President Steve Samuelian.

During the live auction, event attendees have the opportunity to win compelling packages, including a week in a spectacular villa in Puerto Vallarta, a private party for 50 guests at The Wine Gallery, and a front-row family experience at Angels Stadium. Attendees also will be encouraged to raise their paddles to fund the yearly Fund-a-Need initiative, “Future Ready,” which supports the Digital Literacy and the Authentic Exploratory Research programs, as well as a “MegaGrant” for an inquiry-based project that will introduce high school students to important local and global environmental issues. 

“It’s all about supporting a great cause and having fun while doing it,” says event chair Gorjana Reidel. “We are looking forward to an amazing event.” 

Event tickets can be purchased online at www.lbsschoolpower.org/rsvp

SchoolPower’s mission is to enhance the educational experience of the whole student as they grow from TK through 12th grade. In 2018-19, SchoolPower contributed over $736,000 to Laguna Beach school district to help support a wide range of programs, including music, visual and performing arts, STEM, digital literacy, field trips, athletics, social emotional support, service learning, and academic support. SchoolPower’s Wave of Giving campaign is on now at www.give.lbschoolpower.org.


Enjoying the beauty in Heisler Park

A plethora Heisler

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Photo by Jean Brotherton

Kniphofia, also called tritoma, red hot poker, torch lily, knofflers, or poker plant, is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family Asphodelaceae, first described as a genus in 1794. It is native to Africa.


Bird stage

Bird stage main

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Pigeons strut their stuff on a beach berm


Laguna Beach Garden Club cancels March meeting

By Blythe Wheaton

The Laguna Beach Garden Club has decided with great sadness and an abundance of caution, to cancel the Friday, March 13 general meeting of the Laguna Beach Garden Club. 

LBGC hopes to reschedule Joe Gardener as a speaker for next year. 

We look forward to seeing you all at our April 10th meeting, with speaker Anna Maria Despris presenting “Garden Pollinators – Native and Honey Bees.”

To learn more about the Laguna Beach Garden Club, visit www.lagunabeachgardenclub.org.


Laguna Beach locals and owners of Code Green Fitness offer live virtual workouts

Laguna Beach locals Ryan and Teresa Kollock, owners of Code Green Fitness and parents to five young children, know all too well the hardships that many will embrace in the weeks and months to come while we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Kollocks want to help by providing our community with a way to stay healthy and strong while following Governor Newsom’s “stay at home” order. Their focus is on being a positive influence on our community and encouraging us all to take our health into our own hands. 

Laguna Beach family

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The Kolluck family wishes to extend health and wellness to the community 

Exercise is an outlet that allows us to relieve stress, connect with people, and is also one of the best ways to boost your immune system. With all the gyms being closed and social distancing, we are all searching for a new routine and way to workout. Code Green Fitness is offering multiple ways for all of us to stay healthy and strong while staying at home:

1. If you are looking for ideas for things to do on your own,  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your name and cell phone number and Ryan and Teresa will send you in invitation to their Code Green Fitness app for free. Once you log in to the app for the first time, the app will open, click on workouts and select a workout that works for you. There are meditations, body weight workouts, and various workouts with weights. Again, this is free to everyone.

2. Code Green Fitness will also be broadcasting LIVE workouts remotely so that we can stay at home and be safe. Guided workout sessions are Monday through Friday on Zoom at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. These workouts can be done individually or as a family. It’s a great way to get your kids their credit for PE! The sessions will include a lot of circuit training and supersets for best results. Workouts will change daily so you will never get bored. For this first week, Code Green Fitness will be doing bodyweight only exercises. Starting the next week, they will be adding in workouts with bands. All the classes will be interval based with focuses on strength, cardio, core, and flexibility. Code Green Fitness is also hoping to record these workouts so that you can do them at a later time if you want to. 

Laguna Beach gym

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Local small business Code Green offers live workouts and virtual training options 

Ryan and Teresa are sensitive to the fact that not everyone is thriving at these times, so all workouts will be donation-based. 

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in joining the group workouts.

Code Green Fitness is still taking on private clients, abd will be doing FaceTime sessions. This is as good as it gets to in-person training. You will be led through a workout with whatever equipment you have (if any). This keeps you accountable and is far better than a YouTube video or following a plan off a piece of paper. Please text Ryan at (949) 697-2364 to set up your appointments. 

Ryan and Theresa are looking forward to serving our community and helping you and your family stay sane and fit during this pandemic. We will all get through this together and find new ways to stay healthy!. 

Also, make sure you are following Code Green Fitness on Instagram and Facebook as Ryan and Theresa will be doing a lot more posting there also.

For more information, visit www.codegreenfitness.com and www.lagunabeachyouthfootball.com.


Guest column

Your tech needs a spring cleaning: here’s how to do it

By Jodi Duva, Vice President, Cox Business

If you’re working from home, as many of us are right now, it’s the perfect opportunity to feel more in control of your home or business by doing some spring cleaning. Studies show that getting organized calms anxiety, and makes us feel more energized and productive. But spring cleaning needs to go beyond the physical realm of your paper files or closets – decluttering, organizing, and otherwise bolstering your digital life is increasingly important, especially if you’re teleworking.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to delete all of your unread emails and get to inbox zero. Instead, it’s better to get a handle on your tech devices’ storage, security, and updates. 

Here are some “tech spring cleaning” tips to help you get the most out of each device you might use at home, at work or in your home office. 

Guest Column your tech needs

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For your phone, personal computer, tablets, and other Internet-enabled devices

--Back it up, then back it up again. In general, make sure all your devices back up to the cloud every 24 hours. According to experts, you need to manually back up your computer any time you upload something you don’t want to lose, like family photos or important documents. 

--Run updates. Don’t keep ignoring those notifications that updates are available. Updating your device to its latest operating system will ensure that bugs are fixed, and your device runs as efficiently and quickly as possible. 

--Clear your browser cache as often as possible. This is essentially hitting “refresh” on your browsing history, which gets rid of “cookies” that companies use to track your activity, which helps your device run faster. Plus, it keeps your Internet history from falling into the wrong hands. Here’s how to clear your cache on any browser. 

--Protect yourself from viruses. Make sure you’re using an anti-virus/anti-malware software of some kind on all Internet-enabled devices, particularly your computers. Find out if you have anti-virus protections in place already. If you have it, run an update. If you don’t, install one.

--Delete all unnecessary data. On your phone, remove text threads over a year old, erase your call history, and delete old voicemails. On any Internet-connected device (including your smart watch), assess which apps you use and get rid of the ones you don’t. This includes “bloatware,” like that stock market app on iOS, that comes pre-loaded on devices.

For your bank, social media, apps, or other online accounts

--Set up two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires anyone logging in to your accounts to enter a code that is sent to the contact number or email address on file for you. This is essentially an extra layer of security that makes it harder for hackers to access your information – and many tech experts say it’s a necessity.

--Update all your passwords to cybersecurity “industry standard.” If you’re still using “Password123” or your dog Fido’s name as your password across all devices, you’re putting your information at serious risk. Pick a different password for each website, application, or social media platform you log into, and try to make them long strings of random characters or multi-word phrases (think “[email protected]$w0^d234” or “FidoismydogandIlovehim32948”).

--Consider using a password manager. It’s hard to keep track of complicated passwords, especially if you’re using a different one for each device you’re supposed to. That is where password managers like LastPass or 1Password are useful. These secure browser extensions only require you to enter each password once, and then remember them for every time you need to log in to one of your accounts.

For your smart home devices

--Run all patches and updates. Updating Internet-of-Thing (IoT)-enabled devices, like your smart home thermostat, is just as important as updating your phone or computer, since these gadgets actually impact the physical safety and comfort of your home.

For your inbox

--Make sure you and everyone around you can identify “phishy” emails (or direct message). Whether you’re a small business or a family with a shared email account, it’s crucial that everyone knows how to spot and deal with an email that might be a phishing attack by scammers. This applies to direct messages (DMs) on social media accounts as well.

--Auto-sort your incoming email. Most email providers make it easy to keep your email organized automatically through multiple filters or inbox categories. If you go to the “Help” section of your Gmail or Outlook account, for example, you can find instructions for doing so.

--Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. Most of us have been automatically enrolled in a mailing list we never wanted to join and unsubscribing from these individuals can get overwhelming very quickly. Use a service like unroll.me to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want to receive.

Following these steps will keep you, your family and your employees safer, and help you get more done with your day – so set aside some time this spring to do a deep clean on your tech.

Jodi Duva has more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. She is vice president for Cox Business, helping to bring innovative products and services to Southern California businesses.

This is paid content by Cox Communications. Cox provides residents in the Laguna Beach area with digital cable television, telecommunications and Home Automation services. Cox also provides scholarships to local high school students in its service area through its Cox Cares Foundation. For more information, visit www.cox.com.


A ray of light from the darkness of the coronavirus

By Diana Cimino, Cimino Law Offices

As many businesses struggle through the darkness and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout, the United States Congress recently passed various programs to offer aid to businesses. These consist of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Emergency Economic Injury Grant and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. All of these programs include different economic relief alternatives and offer the prospect for many small and medium-sized businesses to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus. As a small/medium-sized business attorney advising clients during these difficult times, these relief programs can be very beneficial to a wide variety of clients, allowing businesses to remain afloat while adapting to the new normal of working remotely or, worse, not working at all. 

However, like most government programs, they can be difficult to navigate and confusing to understand. To facilitate businesses, I have prepared a list of “links” to the various programs, with a description of each and criteria for each. My office is prepared to assist local businesses with any portion of this process should they wish to contact us. 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

To access, click here. 

In short, this program offers capital to cover the cost of retaining employees. The program provides cash flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would allow workers to remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy to snap back more quickly after the crisis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to eight weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply starting April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply April 10.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

To access, click here. 

The maximum loan size is $2 million with an option to get an emergency advance of up to $10,000, within three days of loan application acceptance, to small businesses and private nonprofits harmed by COVID-19. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofits. The term is up to 30 years. The lender is the SBA. For loans over $200,000, 20 percent owners will have to provide a personal guarantee. This loan is not forgiven other than the advance if you are denied a loan. Business cannot double dip but businesses that took out an EIDL may refinance it into a PPP. 

The Small Business Debt Relief Program 

To access, click here. 

This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, the SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law. 

7(a), 504, or Microloan

In general, the loan programs have qualification criteria including but not limited to: businesses must meet size standards, be based in the U.S., be able to repay, and have a sound business purpose. To check whether your business is considered small, you will need your business’s 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and 3-year average annual revenue.

7(a) Loans

7(a) loans are an affordable loan product of up to $5 million for borrowers who lack credit elsewhere and need access to versatile financing, providing short-term or long-term working capital and to purchase an existing business, refinance current business debt, or purchase furniture, fixtures, and supplies. In the program, banks share a portion of the risk of the loan with the SBA. There are many different types of 7(a) loans. You apply for a 7(a) loan with a bank or a mission-based lender. The SBA has a free referral service tool called Lender Match.

504 Loan Program

The 504 Loan Program provides loans of up to $5.5 million to approved small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. It is a good option if you need to purchase real estate, buildings, and machinery. You apply through a Certified Development Company, which is a nonprofit corporation that promotes economic development. SBA has a free referral service tool called Lender Match.

Employee Retention Credit

There is also the employee retention credit for employers subject to closure or experiencing economic hardship, which provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees that meet eligibility requirements. This credit is not available if you take assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Delay of Payroll Tax

Employers can also delay payment of employer payroll taxes through the end of 2020 with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021 and the other at the end of 2022. Deferral is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Of course, by the time you read this, much could have changed. For example, on one SBA webpage it states the $10,000 Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan “will not have to be repaid” and at another “the advance does not need to be repaid if you are denied a loan.” Hopefully, clarification of this and other issues will occur before the light dims. 

For questions, the SBA offers email updates (subscribe here – call (800) 659-2955 for disaster assistance) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For legal assistance you can contact my office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 494-9211.

Should all else fail remember – share what you know, do what you can, and take care of those around you. Good luck!


Easter Egg from Australia

Easter egg girl

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Courtesy of Lea Abel-Stone

Easter card designed by Gregg Abel comes from the land down under


Two local female business owners partner to make staying at home memorable 

The award-winning indie film Best Mom and Newport Beach-based Atomic Creamery have partnered to bring the feel-good family film and delicious homemade ice cream to homes while people are encouraged to stay home due to the coronavirus.

Best Mom is the story of Addy, a mom wanting a better connection with her precocious daughter. Her quest to be the best mom turns into one fail after another. As a last-ditch effort, she enrolls in an improv class to learn the art of listening and playing and discovers the joy of “failing up.” In the end, she learns that both motherhood and improv are failure-based art forms. 

Two locals shake

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Photo by Priscilla Iezzi 

“Best Mom” film and Atomic Creamery partner together to bring film treats to Orange County 

Atomic Creamery, which serves liquid nitrogen ice cream in custom flavors, is playing off the storyline of Addy’s daughter making her a Fruit Loops cereal necklace as the most cherished mom gift of all time. Kari Leasure, owner of Atomic Creamery, created the Best Mom flavor with decadent vanilla ice cream and Fruit Loops cereal. 

Atomic Creamery originally featured the Best Mom flavor when the film launched in February of 2019, and brought it back to enhance the viewing experience during this time at home. The flavor will be available through Mother’s Day on May 10, 2020.

Two local film

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Photo by Bill Nichols

Donna Mills in “Best Mom”

 “This collaboration is a way for us to be better together and create a sense of unity in a community so impacted by social distancing,” says Laguna Beach resident and star of Best Mom Meg Weidner. “It’s so important, to both of us, to make this time at home more joy-filled for everyone.” 

Best Mom is distributed by Freestyle Digital Media is available for rent on iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play, or as a free download on Amazon Prime, Local Now, and Tubi.

Atomic Creamery is offering curbside pick-up and home delivery at its Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego locations. 

For more information, visit www.atomiccreamery.com or call (949) 630-5884.


Expanded COVID-19 testing at OC Jails begins

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County Jails, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Correctional Health Services have collaborated to expand testing to asymptomatic inmates currently in medical quarantine. Inmates in quarantine have had a known exposure to a confirmed positive COVID-19 case but have not shown symptoms. 

This expanded testing, which began on April 22, has resulted in additional positive COVID-19 cases in the OC Jail. Yesterday, the first 22 asymptomatic inmates in quarantine were tested as they were scheduled for reintegration back into the jail’s general population housing. Of those 22 individuals, 18 tested positive. These inmates will now be medically isolated and monitored for symptoms.

This expanded testing was initiated in part due to the California Department of Health’s Interim Guidance on Expanding Access to Testing, prioritizing congregate and correctional facilities.

Prior to the expanded testing of asymptomatic inmates in quarantine, 26 inmates were COVID-19 positive. With the expanded testing, positives to date total 82 with 147 tests administered. This data is captured at a point in time, and test results continue to be reported from the HCA Public Health Lab.

On April 24, OCSD began posting OC Jail case count information on the Department’s COVID-19 website at www.ocsd.org/about_ocsd/covid_19. This information will be updated daily Monday through Friday. 

OCSD and HCA Correctional Health Services have been working collaboratively to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19 in OC Jails since January, with enhanced medical screening for all inmates being booked into the facility and all staff entering OC Jails. All inmates have been issued face coverings. In addition, to contain the number of individuals entering OC Jails, visiting has been suspended since early March. 

For information on COVID-19 in Orange County, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/.


PMMC partners with Vans and Wyland thanks to Vans “Foot the Bill” initiative

In an effort to assist small, independent businesses around the world during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Vans launched its “Foot the Bill” initiative earlier this month. Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) was selected as one of the 80 beneficiaries for the program. 

PMMC collaborated with local Laguna Beach artist Wyland, who designed a custom PMMC shoe based off of his first “Whaling Wall” in Laguna Beach, originally created 38 years ago, that led to the creation of 99 additional massive murals around the world. “The mysterious sea has inspired artists from the beginning of time,” said Wyland.

Vans created its “Foot the Bill” program knowing that COVID-19 has had a devastating and crippling effect on everyone. “As the Vans ‘Foot the Bill’ initiative is focused on supporting small businesses during these tough times, I am proud to have the Pacific Marine Mammal Center participating through our Customs platform,” said Steve Van Doren, son of Vans’ founder and Vans vice president of events and promotions. “With a shared passion for our oceans and commitment to look after it, we are excited to offer fans of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center the ability to design their own custom pair of Vans featuring the artwork of world-renowned Wyland, with net proceeds of each pair sold going directly to the organization.”   

PMMC partners shoe

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Submitted photo 

Customized PMMC and Wyland Vans shoe

Since the stay at home orders were established in mid-March, all PMMC education programs have been canceled or postponed and the facility has been closed to the public, causing a decrease in funds and donations. This project comes at a time when small business and nonprofits need it the most, including PMMC. 

“The opportunity to not only be part of, but also the beneficiary, of this collaboration with two worldwide brands is more than we could have ever hoped for,” said Peter Chang, Chief Executive Officer at PMMC. “The funds from this program are critical right now and will go towards our efforts to maintain a positive cash flow for our day-to-day operations. We are thankful for Vans and Wyland and their continued leadership in social responsibility initiatives that have such a broad impact.” 

The program leverages the existing Vans Customs platform that allows patrons to further personalize their PMMC shoe to fit their own styles. Only 500 pairs of the limited edition PMMC shoe will be made. Net proceeds from the sale of each pair will go directly to PMMC during this time of need.

To order or check out the shoe, click here.


Guest Column

Feeling powerless during the pandemic? Here’s how to reclaim your power 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy 

Hello and welcome. I’d like to begin by letting you all know that I’m deeply committed to supporting you all mentally and spiritually during this time. I will continue to regularly give you tools for self-regulation and anxiety relief.

We’ve become accustomed to frightening news, from the current global pandemic and from war and mass violence to terrifying natural disasters.

Following a tragedy, we’re taught to quickly pick up and get on with our lives, but on a subconscious level we still feel the terror. 

It’s easy to hide in alcohol, numb out with Netflix or the internet, or to turn off the news and pretend like nothing happened. But if you avoid your fear it will subconsciously haunt you. It’s important to move through our emotions and heal them. 

It will pass. Storms never last. Springs follow winters. 

Feeling powerless doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

How do you reclaim your power, when you feel powerless?

There’s no right or wrong way to handle our feelings, though there are tools that can help. Outlined below are a few steps for working through your fear to reclaim your power when you feel powerless. 

Step 1: Get honest about your fear 

It’s healthy to admit that you’re afraid. When you honestly acknowledge your fear, you release the tension of holding onto it.

Share your fear with a loved one, write about it in a journal, or share your experience with a therapist or a support group. 

Openly admitting your feelings is a crucial step toward working through your fear. 

Step 2: Breathe through your feelings 

The next step is to identify where you carry your fear in your body. Maybe you can feel it in your throat, your chest, or your stomach. 

Sit for a moment of stillness and sense where your fear is held in your body. 

Then breathe deeply into the space where your fear is held. Continue to breathe into the tension and on the exhale release it. 

Continue this cycle of breath until you feel the tension release. 

Your breath is the greatest tool for releasing fear in your body.

Feeling powerless flowers

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Breath is greatest tool for releasing fear in your body 

Step 3: Connect with others 

Connecting with others’ positive, peaceful energy is the best way to reclaim your power when you feel powerless. 

Some ways to do this: 

--Reach out to friends you trust and whose presence makes you feel good.

--Volunteer with a nonprofit organization you love.

--Offer to help your neighbors, for example, picking up groceries for an elderly person.

--Get involved in a positive online community like www.Naturally-Happy.com

When you feel powerless and you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself, “How can I be of service to someone else?” You will quickly feel energized, connected and inspired. 

I created the Naturally Happy podcast as a tool to help, as a reflection exercise, and for your building spirit muscle. Please listen and share it at https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/. Use the podcast guide to find episodes to create some catharsis in your life.

In Peace, Love and Gratitude 

‘Til next time 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Guest Column 

Immunity from the inside out: remedies and formulas for inner stagnation

By Dr. Vidya Reddy 

Hello, and welcome. I’d like to begin by letting you all know that I’m deeply committed to supporting you all mentally and spiritually during this time. I will continue to regularly give you tools for self-regulation and anxiety relief.

Very philosophically speaking: things stick to stuff that’s stuck. 

The more freely energy circulates, the healthier a system is. 

Types of energy: Life force…prana, blood supply, financial resources, provisions, Love. 

Types of systems: Your life, thoughts, the human body, societies, organizations, relationships, communities. 

If energy isn’t moving in a particular area, stagnation sets in and can turn into toxicity.

Types of toxicity: a slew of physical illnesses; environmental pollution; a range of low-vibration states and behavior: resentment, grievances, pity, hatred, deception, and domination.

Like energy attracts like energy. Stagnancy attracts energies that need to feed on stagnation. 

Immunities from doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Misery, domineering personalities, viruses, and bacteria seek weak parts of a system to latch on to. They feed on density and low vibration: 

Healing is the procedure of raising vibration. We dissolve inner stagnant energy so that life force can flow to our entire system…society…planet. We bring loving attention to the darkest parts. 

If you feel anxiety, fear, and a sense of powerlessness around the coronavirus pandemic, this post is for you. I created the Naturally Happy podcast as a tool to help, as a reflection exercise and for your building spirit muscle. 

Please listen and share it at https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/. Use the podcast guide to find episodes to create some catharsis in your life. 

Stagnant Energy + Inner Radiance: I’ve been looking at old ambitions that no longer serve who I am today – a few goals are getting in the way of my real-time fulfillment. There are arguments that I keep having with the same people. And there’s a way that I relate to Creation that staggers my own creative flow. Thinking loops are a great source of stagnation. I’m working to clear it all out. For vibrancy. For immunity. For Love.

Immunities from beach

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Radiance is a powerful form of immunity

Remedies for inner energy stagnation: Forgiveness. Apologies. Love letters. Breathwork. Honest and transparent conversations with Spirit. Yoga. Dancing. Any kind of sacred body movement. Prayer. Engaged listening and compassionate dialogue. Seva, service, and giving of our love and resources. Inclusiveness – of our complete selves and others. Gratitude felt, and gratitude strongly expressed. (Thankfulness is a powerful solvent for all kinds of ego BS and energy stagnation.) 

In order for our supplements and wellness plans to fully nourish us – and our best-laid plans to unfurl, and our prayers to be sanctified – we need to remove our emotional blockages. No amount of Vitamin C or fitness can get past anger issues, grievances, or a broken heart.

When we clear the resentments and the emotional wounding, the Light of the Soul can flow into us more freely. Less baggage, more radiance. And radiance is a powerful form of immunity. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude

‘Til next time 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Sharael Kolberg announces mission to run 50 miles in 50 days in all 50 states in support of breast cancer awareness

 On Sunday, June 7, National Cancer Survivors Day, breast cancer survivor Sharael Kolberg announced she is on a mission to run 50 miles in 50 days in all 50 states to celebrate her 50th birthday and support breast cancer awareness.

“For my 50th birthday, I wanted to do something big,” Kolberg says. “Since I love to travel, I came up with the idea of traveling to all 50 states during the year of my 50th birthday. But that didn’t seem like enough. I also wanted to combine it with giving back. So, since I was a runner before I got cancer, I thought it would be a great excuse to get back into running. I could do a one-mile run in each of the 50 states – for breast cancer awareness – in support of those who are in treatment and are having a hard time just getting out of bed. I’ve literally been in their shoes.”

Sharael Kolberg announces

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Submitted photo

Local breast cancer survivor Sharael Kolberg 

Kolberg decided to partner with Susan G. Komen to provide resources on detection, diagnosis, and treatment for breast cancer. According to Susan G. Komen, more than 270,000 women and men in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 42,000 will die. With early detection (stage I), survival rates can be 98 percent or higher.

On a mission, Kolberg started mapping out her journey across the U.S. She planned to visit places she’s always wanted to see, picking the cities (or national parks) she wanted to run in and the dates she would do her runs. Then the Coronavirus hit! 

“In order to keep others, and myself, safe, traveling was off the table,” Kolberg says. “So, I came up with the idea to partner with one runner in each state to do a run together virtually via Zoom.”

Kolberg will run one mile in her hometown of Laguna Beach live via Zoom with a person from each of the 50 states – that will total 50 miles for her. She is currently looking for people to join her team of runners.

For others who can’t, or don’t want to, run, but would like to support Kolberg’s mission, the runs will be broadcast live via Zoom webinars. Supporters can run along with Kolberg virtually in their own neighborhoods while watching Kolberg (using caution) run simultaneously via Zoom – or they can watch from the comfort of their couch. 

A calendar of where and when the runs will take place will be posted at www.50forthecure.org, where supporters can RSVP to watch the live events via Zoom.

“I’d love to get as many people as possible to sign up to join me virtually to support my cause to help spread breast cancer awareness,” says Kolberg. “I want to give breast cancer patients the hope that they can be in my shoes someday soon – out running again!

To sign up, visit www.50forthecure.org.


LBUMC offers free online Vacation Bible School

Brooke Briggs, Family Ministries Director at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church, has announced that Vacation Bible School will be held online this year, and it will be free. Children ages 4 to 12 are invited to tune in between 10 a.m. and noon on Monday, July 27 through Friday, July 31.

FOCUS is the theme of this year’s Vacation Bible School. The goal is to help attendees to see what matters most in life. According to Briggs, children will discover how to trust in what they can’t see because of what they can see. 

“This is done by putting the focus on God and looking for Jesus, who starts seekers on their journey of faith,” she says.

LBUMC offers Brooke

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Submitted photo

Brooke Briggs of LBUMC

To register, go to LBUMC’s website at www.lbumc.org then click on “Children.” 

Currently, Sunday services for LBUMC are being held online at 10 a.m. through the church’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lagunabeachumc. The services are also available on the church’s website.


Corporal Cornelius Ashton named School Resource Officer, will facilitate safety at all four district schools

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Board approved a formal Memorandum of Understanding to permit a School Resource Officer (SRO) to be assigned to the LBUSD campuses during the calendar school year at its August 22 meeting.

Corporal Cornelius Ashton has been selected as the City’s first SRO. Corporal Ashton will work with school site principals to develop plans and strategies for improving safety on each Laguna Beach school campus throughout the school year. 

Corporal Ashton has 18 years of law enforcement experience, which includes 15 years at the San Diego Community School District, and three years with LBPD.

Corporal Cornelius Ashton

Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD Corporal Cornelius Ashton is the City’s first School Resource Officer; he will help facilitate safety at all four district schools this year

Corporal Ashton has previous experience as a juvenile crimes detective at LBPD and a proven track record for fostering positive relationships with students, parents, and school faculty.

“LBHS and the LBUSD is very excited to embark on this relationship and work with SRO Ashton and the LBPD. This will be a great added layer of support for our students and members of the greater school community,” said LBHS Principal Jason Allemann, Ed. D. “We are all looking forward to the maximizing the potential of this relationship.”

“This is an exciting new opportunity that will give the police department the ability to better connect with the youth of our community, enhance school security, prevention and education as it relates to bullying and drug resistance, and to provide support to the faculty and parents,” said LBPD Captain Jeff Calvert. 

Chief Farinella said at the July 17 LBUSD Board meeting (in which she gave a presentation) that it’s not about law enforcement, unless behavior is merited. Any enforcement would be in coordination with the school principal.

“It’s not enforcement; it’s education, it’s guidance, it’s prevention, intervention,” she said. “It’s all of those things, so it’s not about going through backpacks, putting the canine through the school, that is not what it’s about. We want [that person] to be a mentor and teacher.” 

There is training along guidelines from the School Resource Officer association including understanding education codes and social media issues.  

Chief Farinella stated that the effectiveness of the program would be reviewed after a year. “I would love to come back after a year and report, ‘these were the contacts, these were the issues’ – to quantify the success and also qualify, like ‘yes, we feel like there’s a sounding board for issues.’”

For more information, contact Sgt Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna Presbyterian announces Grief Support Group starting April 22

Springtime is often referred to as a time of rebirth and new life, but for people who’ve experienced a death in their lives it can be a time of conflict. Find support and join with others in the community in a Grief Support Group at Laguna Presbyterian Church. 

The six-week program starting on April 22 includes understanding the grief process, learning and sharing feelings, handling traditions and life milestones without your loved one, and other aspects of the grieving process. 

Laguna Presbyterian outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Presbyterian to host Grief Support Group 

Through guided group discussions, journaling, and various opportunities for at-home reflection, participants will learn tools to acknowledge loss and develop positive practices to address their grief. 

The program will meet on Mondays, from April 22 to May 28, from 4 - 5:30 p.m. Rev. Jon Moore, Deborah Sakach, and Leah Lind will lead the group. It is open to all and people are encouraged to invite friends, family, and neighbors who are grieving to attend.

There is a $40 materials fee, but scholarships are available.
For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the office at (949) 494-7555.

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.


Meet Pet of the Week Paloma

Paloma is currently taking the title of Pet of the Week. She is an older shepherd mix spayed female who is very sweet and full of lots of love to give. It is recommended that she is in a house with no other dogs. In addition, Paloma would do best with an older couple or a single woman, as she gravitates best to these groups. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Paloma adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Week Paloma

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Submitted photo

Paloma is a sweet shepherd dog looking for a new home

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Meet Pet of the Week Ollie

Ollie is currently taking the title of Pet of the Week. He is a seven-year-old poodle mix who is neutered. Ollie once injured his eye, and had gone through several procedures for lens replacements to fix it, but it never fully worked. That being said, he was in a lot of pain so the best solution was to remove it all together. Since there is no more discomfort, Ollie loves to jump and play around. He is very sweet dog who is also housebroken. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Ollie adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Week Ollie

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Ollie is looking for a new family to share his life with 

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Jumping for joy

Jumping for twisting

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Photo by Rich German

A frenzy of fun


Comma in the sky 

Comma in moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A crescent moon punctuates the mysterious sky


Crystal Cove California Gnatcatcher 

Crystal Cove bird

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Photo by Jean Brotherton

The California Gnatcatcher is an endangered species and is only found in coastal Southern California and Baja California. Habitat loss is the reason so few exist.


Discovery Cube Innovators host free Science of Golf event on Thursday

Discovery Cube Orange County is hosting its first Laguna Beach community event on Thursday, Aug 22 at the Ranch Laguna Beach from 4 to 7 p.m. All are invited to join in for celebration and learning.

Laguna Beach citizens have a long history supporting the Cube. The Innovators, led by Chair Janet Ray, is celebrating its 10th year. The group’s lifetime founding members from Laguna Beach include Shelly and Steve Hupp. 

Other community leaders in the collective include Donnie Crevier, Ellen and Michael Fine, Jane and Joe Hanauer, and Barbara and Greg MacGillivray.

Discovery Cube CEO

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Submitted photo

Discovery Cube CEO Joe Adams with Greg MacGillivray

Innovators enjoy quarterly “Science of” events as well as exclusive opportunities at the museum. The group is comprised of lifelong learners who value how the nonprofit creates a growth mindset and a love of learning. In line with the Cube’s mission to Inspire, Educate and Impact the community, each Innovator gathering leaves guests feeling enlightened. 

According to Laguna Beach donor Michael Ray, “I have found that kids like the Cube as much as they like Disneyland. It is simply an amazing place and experience for children and their families.”

Discovery Cube’s mission is to inspire and educate young minds through engaging science-based programs and exhibits to create a meaningful impact on the communities it serves.

Discovery Cube astronaut

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Submitted photo

Discovery Cube CEO Joe Adams with Innovator Leadership Chair Janet M. Ray and NASA astronaut Yvonne D. Cagel

The museum values the importance of providing access to STEM education for all pre-K to 12th grade students, regardless of ability to pay, through exhibits and program services. Program offerings are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to foster science-based discovery through four core initiatives:

1. STEM Proficiency – Increasing students’ and teachers’ proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math, in order to prepare students to successfully enter the workforce with 21st century skills. 

2. Environmental Stewardship – Encouraging positive behaviors that result in eco-friendly living and in making educated decisions that will result in the extension of our natural resources. 

3. Healthy Living – Educating families about healthy living and the interconnectivity of body systems, mental health, and nutrition to increase their physical and psychological wellness. 

4. Early Learning – Providing parents and guardians with knowledge and training to teach children how to read, understand numbers and complex language, and achieve STEM proficiency in school readiness skills. 

Discovery Cube Elizabeth

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Submitted photo

Dr. Elizabeth Van E  of UCI and Rick Ferre from Eon Reality

To learn more about Discovery Cube, visit www.discoverycube.org or contact Laguna Beach resident and Director of Development Michelle Highberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions about the event or Innovators.


Meet Pet of the Week Benji

Benji is currently taking the title of Pet of the Week. He is a seven-year-old little terrier mix with potentially some yorkie in him. He comes from a situation where he was abused, and lost some teeth in the process. He is full of endless love and is looking for a new home to be taken into. He is very friendly and loves children. He likes to be around other female dogs. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Benji adopted as soon as possible.

Meet Pet of the Week Benji

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Benji is look for a new friend

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Freestyle Frisbee

Freestyle Frisbee man

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Frisbee fun in the late afternoon shoreline


PTA Coffee Talk presents “Back to School Report” on Wednesday

On Wednesday, Sept 18, from 8:30 to 10:15 a.m., PTA Coffee Talk will feature a “Back to School Report” presentation at Laguna Beach City Hall. 

LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria and district staff will update the community on the strengths of our schools, progress that has been made, and expectations for the future. The event will highlight key goals and initiatives for the 2019-2020 school year, including ongoing continuous improvement efforts, the goal to foster and sustain strong relationships, and the focus of “Every student, every day.”

PTA Coffee Viloria

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Submitted photo

Dr. Jason Viloria, Superintendent of LBUSD

To RSVP, visit www.ptacoffeetalk.org. The talk is free to PTA members or a $10 donation. 

City Hall is located at 505 Forest Ave.


Sunset’s celestial complexion 

Sunsets celestial rose

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Photo by Louise Thornton

Such rich and varied dyes…John Howison


Laguna Beach Business Club announces Mo Honarkar as speaker for Nov 21 meeting

The Laguna Beach Business Club is proud to announce Mo Honarkar, the founder, CEO, and president of Honarkar Ventures, as speaker at the group’s November 21 meeting. 

The LBBC holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday each month at 7:30 a.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in your personal and professional lives.

The topic of Mr. Honarkar’s discussion will be “good to great.” Mohammad “Mo” Honarkar is founder, CEO, and president of Honarkar Ventures, which oversees a diverse portfolio of businesses and investments, including Laguna Beach Company, Laguna Creative Ventures, 4G Ventures, and The Honarkar Family Foundation.

Honarkar has invested heavily in his beloved hometown of Laguna Beach, and is currently overseeing development projects including the renovation of Hotel Laguna, a landmark jewel on the Southern California coast, as well as The Cleo Hotel and The Heisler Project, an art-infused and inspired hotel meant to complement the community and the neighboring museum. 

Laguna Beach Mo

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

Mo Honarkar standing next to historic photo of Hotel Laguna

In addition to the hotels, Honarkar seeks to develop affordable housing and mixed-use projects, with the goal of reviving revenue to local businesses and ensuring that artists, students, and local employees alike can continue to call Laguna Beach home.

Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Honarkar moved to the U.S. in the late 70s to study and earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from University of California, Irvine. After working as a software engineer for Toshiba, he discovered cubicle life was not for him. A people person with an entrepreneurial spirit, he opened his first business in the early 90s – a successful line of high-end men’s clothing stores called “Chez Lui.”

Shortly thereafter he founded GSM Wireless, Inc., a groundbreaking retail agent of PacBell, Cingular Wireless II, LLC and later AT&T Mobility. Within 10 years, GSM experienced exponential growth and expanded from two to more than 180 wireless retail stores across the Western U.S.

In 2006, Honarkar founded 4G Wireless, Inc., a Verizon Wireless premium retailer, which he spearheaded as chairman, CEO, and president. By 2016, when the retail stores were sold, it had become one of the largest Verizon Wireless retailers in the region with approximately 160 stores and 1,200 employees across five states.

Honarkar lives in Laguna Beach, has two adult daughters and a grandson he adores. He enjoys fitness, spending time on the ocean, travel, and has a passion for the arts.

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Meetings are hosted at Seven7Seven. Non-members are welcome! The non-member guest fee is $30, payable in cash or check (payable to the Laguna Beach Business Club) the day of the meeting. 

For more information about the LBBC or to register to attend a meeting, visit www.lagunabeachbusinessclub.com or contact Pamela Knudsen at (949) 285-3730. 

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Pepper tree pruning

Pepper tree workmen

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Photo by Judy Barry

Getting ready for Hospitality Night!


Holidays at Heisler Park

Holidays at bulbs

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Photo by Judy Barry

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season


County Supervisor Bartlett speaks at Rotary 

County Supervisor group

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Photo by  Ward Blackburn

Last Friday, County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett updated the Laguna Beach Rotary Club on various county projects. (L-R) Past Rotary President Peter Freeman, Chairwoman Bartlett, Rotarian and City Treasurer Laura Parisi, and Peter Blake, City Councilman.


Rescued sea lion deemed non-releasable finds home

Meatball, a female California sea lion rescued and rehabilitated by Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) who was deemed non-releasable, found her forever home at Blank Park Zoo, located in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Meatball was rescued by PMMC’s rescue team on January 24, 2019 from Laguna Beach at only 24 pounds. She was admitted and treated for deep puncture wounds, an upper respiratory tract infection, malnutrition, and dehydration. Her rehabilitation throughout the coming months proved difficult as she was not showing any progression for certain basic behavioral criteria.

Rescued Sea Meatball

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Submitted photo

Meatball before moving to her forever home, January 2020

“Due to her inability to dive and compete in a small pool after over six months of rehabilitation in conjunction with being able to eat only small herring by hand and in accordance with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) standards for release, Meatball would not be a good candidate for release back to the wild,” said Dr. Kristen Sakamaki, PMMC Veterinarian.

After months of searching, PMMC, in partnership with the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), found an extraordinary institution in the Blank Park Zoo where Meatball will live out the rest of her life. 

Rescued Sea group

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Submitted photo

Meatball (in front) shortly after rescue, January 2019

“We are grateful for our partnership with PMMC and the important work they undertake saving, conserving, and rehabilitating marine mammals. While it is unfortunate that ‘Meatball’ cannot be released back into her natural habitat, we are thankful to PMMC for the opportunity to give her a permanent home. She will become an ambassador for our oceans, educating our guests on the importance of conserving our oceans and natural resources,” said Shannon McKinney, director of animal care at Blank Park Zoo. ‘Meatball’ will also become a great companion to our other female sea lions, ‘Zoey’ and ‘Addy,’ and our three harbor seals, ‘Ross,’ ‘Meru,’ and ‘Monty.’

Since 1971, PMMC has rescued almost 9,000 seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals. In those 49 years, PMMC has placed 30 pinnipeds at zoos, aquariums, and wild animal parks all over the country that would not have otherwise survived on their own in the wild. 

For more information, visit www.pacificmmc.org.


Bird and person share a peaceful moment

Bird and silhouette

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Photo by Scott Brashier

All living creatures appreciate the beauty of sunset


And the Hoag Classic ticket winners are…

Stu News held a ticket giveaway to the Hoag Classic, our local stop on the PGA TOUR Champions, taking place March 4 - 8 at Newport Beach Country Club.

We asked readers to share why they wanted to attend, and here are a couple of our favorite responses. Congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to seeing you out there during tournament week.

• • •

I am sending this for my friend John Keating, whose computer isn’t working at the moment. These are his words:

My name is John Keating, an 82-year-old who LOVES golf. I play twice a week with 40 other retired golfers. I was a high school golf coach for 35 years
(at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley) but have never seen the
seniors play. I would love to see some of my favorite golfers play, up close
(and personal!). Thank you!

–Submitted by Carol Strauss for John Keating

• • •

I have been an avid golfer for many years. I have been fortunate to golf all over the world in Turkey, Italy, France, Scotland and soon in Morocco. I have been to the Hoag Classic, formerly the Toshiba, where my good friend David Cler won as an amateur in the Toshiba Pro Am. But I have a more personal attachment to Hoag. Twenty years ago, while riding my bike with my wife Lu, I began having a shortness of breath and stopped by the Hyatt off of Jamboree to catch my breath and told that to my wife. I said there must be a lot of smog in the air and she said, “John, this is a clear day and there is no smog.” She then went over to a construction shack where they had a phone and someone was in the office. She called 911. So when the paramedics arrived, they gave me some nitroglycerine spray, hooked me to up an EKG machine and started to cut my bike clothes off when I said, “Don’t cut off my bike shorts, they are Pearl Izumi’s worth $80, just pull them off,” which they did. Off in an ambulance I went to Hoag. Looking out the back window was like the parting of the Red Sea with the traffic. I arrived, had a small surgery and out the door I went the next day.

The other story is about my wife, Lu. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and was going to have a part of her lung removed. So we went to Hoag into the Bill & Susan Gross Cancer Center for women. Lu had her surgery and was home after a few days. I had seen Bill Gross at Starbucks in Crystal Cove with his tie undone as is usual for him. But I never had a chance to thank him until last year. I saw him at the Festival of Arts and said you look like Bill Gross and he turned and said he was. It was at that time I told him how important his contribution was to Hoag Hospital and how important it was in my life with my wife. He may be a tiger in the boardroom but he was truly touched by my story. We shook hands and he thanked me for letting him know. Fore!

–John Campbell


Regal sea gull

Regal sea bird

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Thou comest, wandering through lone water-ways/To cliffs empurpled and cerulean bays/Then, rocking near some cavern’s emerald gleam/Thou seem’st the soul of halcyonian days/The restful Spirit of the sea supreme.” –Lloyd Mufflin


South Laguna Community Garden Park hosts free workshop on March 21

South Laguna Community Garden Park will offer a free workshop, “Growing Fruit Trees in Small Spaces,” with Catherine Pannell Waters on Saturday, March 21 at 10 a.m. at the Garden.

Landscape contractor and horticulturist Cat Waters will share her knowledge of small-space fruit tree growing in the southern Orange County coastal area. Espalier techniques, sources, varieties, tools, fertilization, pest control, and recipes for using fruit will be shared.

South Laguna Catherine

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Photo by Robert Waters 

Catherine in a native plant garden that she began planting in 2004

After her hour-long talk, Cat will lead a tour of her 20’ x 20’ allotment at the Harry Otsubo Community Garden in Dana Point where she and her husband experiment with growing espalier fruit trees including apples, citrus, pineapple guavas, figs, pears, and persimmons, all under 60” in height. If you think you don’t have room for fruit trees in your garden, perhaps by implementing Cat’s techniques you will, and now is the perfect time to plant.

The art of marrying fruit trees with the ancient dwarfing and training technique of espaliers or stepovers turns out to be perfect for small spaces. It only takes a bit of patience and nearly any fruit tree can be trained and maintained to be an effective producer while confined to a limited space. 

And, with a bit more patience a local gardener can find that they can grow a producing heritage apple like Arkansas Black, or a newer variety like Pink Lady, or a luscious Eureka Lemon, or a sublime Genoa Fig right in their tiny front or rear yard and still have room for ornamental plants, patio furniture, and outdoor living.

Since 2009 the South Laguna Community Garden Park has been offering opportunities for families to garden in small plots. This provides a beautiful and ever-changing setting for park and public uses such as picnicking, community festivals, and educational workshops on gardening-related topics such as this one. The Garden Park was built and continues to be maintained by volunteers with the help of community donations. Fundraising continues to acquire the property. 

For more information and to donate, visit www.southlaguna.org/garden

The Garden is located at 31610 Coast Highway at Eagle Rock Way.


Lynette’s “Throw-it-all-together” cottage pie, designed to comfort friends in need

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I’m not a cook – well, Indian curry and British scones aside – so my “throw-it-all-together” cottage pie was very much my go-to dish when, for seven years, I was a single working mom of pre-teens. It’s comfort food and a great way to disguise the taste of vegetables, though my kids still managed to fish out any lima beans that might sneak in among the meat. 

In later years, it’s become my favorite dish to take to friends’ homes when they are ailing in any way. Most seem to enjoy it, though in some cases I’m unclear as to its ultimate fate.

Lynettes throw pie

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Photo by Susan Smallwood Cooper

Could do with more cheese, but the only photo I have of my cottage pie

The question I’m most asked is this: What is the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie? Well, the clue is in the latter’s name. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, while cottage pie is…made with…cottages? No, beef.

Also, my cottage pie may be vastly different from the official version. I made it up as I went along, so I just throw it all together without measuring anything, really. What you see below are estimated quantities…

So here’s my very unscientific recipe.

Good luck!

The recipe

Chop up half a large onion (or more). Toss into a pot or large skillet along with a pound of ground beef. Keep stirring and smashing the beef into smaller bits with a wooden spoon until it is all nicely browned, almost burning (well, that’s what I do), and the onion has virtually disappeared from sight.

Squirt ketchup into the mixture (one solid squeeze) and stir quickly.

Pour in enough water to cover the ground beef, about two cups (I think). 

Grab a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and pour in some, but not so much that it overwhelms the meat. Peas, carrots, corn, green beans, or whatever floats your culinary boat.

Add salt. Let the mixture boil until most of the water is gone but don’t let it get too dry.

In between managing the meat side of things, cut up three, or more, or fewer, large potatoes, depending on how thick you want the layer of mash on top of the meat to be.

Place potato cubes in boiling water and wait about ten minutes until it gets to the easily mashable stage.

Drain. Mash with half-and-half or milk, and butter, with salt to taste, until it is smooth and creamy. (To this day, tradition requires that I mash using an old-fashioned masher. This is not a requirement.)

Sometime during all this cooking, find the time to grate a bunch of cheddar cheese, enough to cover the mashed potato.

Decant the ground beef mixture into a serving dish. Layer on the mashed potato. Place as thick a layer of cheddar cheese as you like on top of the mash.

Put in oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes or so, or maybe more, to melt the cheese and warm up the bits that might have gotten cold while you were futzing around with the other parts of the dish or feeding the cat or agreeing or disagreeing with your husband about something political on the TV.

Eat! 

Stu News will be publishing “Comfort Food from Friends and Neighbors” during these challenging times – so send your comfort food recipes to editor, owner, and publisher Shaena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – I’m sure your recipes will be easier to follow than mine!


Sweet dreams are made of this

Sweet dreams trees

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Who am I to disagree?/I travel the world/And the seven seas/Everybody is looking for something” –Eurythmics


Blossom by blossom, spring begins

Photos by Scott Brashier

Blossom by closeup

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The promise of spring’s arrival

Blossom by pink

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We all could use a little color right now

Blossom by roses

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“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.” –John Muir


Orange County residents can call toll-free hotline for COVID-19 county resources

Residents can now call (833) 426-6411 for inquiries related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Orange County. This hotline will provide resources specific to the Orange County COVID-19 response.

Through the hotline, callers can be connected to the following county agencies:

 --Orange County Health Care Agency – Health Referral Line, Behavioral Health Resources

--Orange County Social Services Agency – Risk Benefits

--Orange County Office on Aging – Resources for Seniors

--Orange County District Attorney’s Office – Scams, Price Gouging

--County of Orange Emergency Operations Center Hotline – Non-Medical Questions

Residents who have questions about COVID-19 can contact the Orange County COVID-19 Hotline at any time, but individual hotline hours will vary. 

The Orange County Health Care Agency’s website at www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus has information that is regularly updated regarding the status of COVID-19 in Orange County.

For information about COVID-19 in the state of California, visit www.covid19.ca.gov

The Orange County COVID-19 Hotline can be reached at (833) 426-6411.

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