Laguna Beach Chamber Installs Board

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Mayor Bob Whalen swears in the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at its annual installation mixer on Feb. 28. Photo courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Board of Directors Installation mixer on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Laguna Beach Brewery & Grill.

J.J. Ballesteros, President of the Board of Directors, presided over the ceremonies, and Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen presided over the installation of the board officers.

The chamber will celebrate its 102nd birthday this year and aims to increase membership in 2019. Chamber officials thanked all those who attended, as well as the Laguna Beach Brewery & Grill for offering up their venue.



Board of Directors

J.J. Ballesteros – President

Julie Laughton – President Elect

Dave Rubel – Vice President

Carmelit Green – Treasurer

Norm Grossman – Secretary

The new Chamber members

Dawn Knepper – Director

Doug Vogel – Director

Giovanni Labile – Director

Hasty Honarkar – Director

Mark Meisberger – Director

Reinhard Neubert – Director

Scott Sanchez – Director

Tyler Russell – Director


One Week Left to Enter Bluebelt Photo Contest

The 8th annual Laguna Bluebelt photo contest, conceived to raise awareness of Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas, will be accepting entries for one more week. Photos taken between Feb. 15, 2018 and March 15, 2019 can be uploaded to through March 15.

Photos can be taken of the beach, underwater, or of any subject that is within Laguna’s MPAs that stretch from Abalone Point in North Laguna to Table Rock in South Laguna. They could include a family enjoying the beach, the tide pools, the ocean, or the birds or marine life that depend on them.

This year’s grand prizes include two nights and dinner at The Ranch and one night at the Surf and Sand Resort with dinner at Splashes Restaurant.

There are two contest categories: professional and amateur. Winning photographs will be exhibited at The Ranch for two weeks following the contest.


 South Laguna Civic Association to Hold Annual Meeting

Esther and Frances Egan in South Laguna, circa 1920. They lived through South Laguna’s last fire in 1925. Their parents, William and Bertie Egan, homesteaded the area where Valido Road and Paso del Sur is now. Photo courtesy of South Laguna Civic Association

South Laguna’s hills haven’t burned since 1925, but fire will return. How can we better prepared? South Laguna Civic Association presents guest speaker Richard Halsey, author of “Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California,” who will share his insights and recommendations.

The SLCA annual meeting will be held at The Ranch at Laguna Beach on Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres will be served; no host bar. RSVP to [email protected].






 Purim Holiday Events Open to the Public

: On March 12, the Chabad Jewish Center will host a JYZ Youth Zone Hamentashen Bake-Off at 4:30 p.m. Hamentashen is a triangular pastry filled with poppy seeds, jelly, or chocolate. Photo courtesy of the Chabad Jewish Center.

On Tuesday, March 12, the Chabad Jewish Center will host a JYZ Youth Zone Hamentashen Bake-Off at 4:30 p.m. Admission to the event, which features holiday crafts, stories and games, is $6.

Purim USA!, a patriotic-themed Purim bash, will take place Thursday, March 21, at 5 p.m. The event includes a Megillah reading with Uncle Sam, an all-American BBQ buffet, a moment of gratitude honoring those who have served/serve the nation, entertainment with Michael Raynor (appearances on America’s Got Talent and Late Night with David Letterman), music and dancing, Lchaims for the adults, and fun for all ages. Come in costume. $12 for children, $18 for adults.

The holiday of Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people living in the fourth century B.C.E. from one of the most colorful villains in Jewish history. It is observed by public readings of the Megillah (Scroll of Esther), sending gifts of food to friends, giving charity to the needy, and enjoying a festive meal. It is also customary to eat a cookie called Hamentashen, a triangular pastry filled with poppy seed, jelly, chocolate, etc.

To RSVP or for more information, visit or call 949-499 – 0770. Chabad is located at 30804 S. Coast Highway, across from the Montage Resort.


 R Star Moves Ahead with New Well

Local nonprofit R Star has entered into an agreement with the Nepali government to drill another well to provide water in earthquake damaged villages. Photo courtesy of Rosalind Russell.

R Star, the local nonprofit that has distributed 15,000 goats, built a school, drilled water wells, and provided job training and adult literacy classes in remote Nepalese villages, has entered into an agreement with the Nepali government to drill another well to provide water in earthquake damaged villages, according to Rosalind Russell, R Star’s founder.

Russell recently visited the proposed site of the well and met with a hydro engineer and local government officials. “Due to the overall terrain, building wells in Nepal costs twice what it would in Africa or India,” Russell said.

To learn more about R Star’s work, visit or call Russell at 949-497-4911. Volunteers and donations are welcome.



Boys & Girls Club Announces New Appointments

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach recently announced the resignation of program development director, Greg Bridgeman, who will move to Colorado to work for Convoy of Hope. “The [club] members and the organization have impacted me in many ways and I will cherish the time I have had here,” Bridgeman said in a statement. Filling his shoes will be long-time club employee Danny Panduro, who currently serves as teen services director. “I look forward to future growth and positive progress as program development director and wish Greg Bridgeman, and his family all the best on their new adventure,” Panduro said.

Laguna Beach native and club alumnae, Ricki Delatorre, has been appointed as teen services director. “I started attending this very club when I was in first grade, coming every day after school loving the famous bunker ball and the awesome computer games until about 7th grade,” Delatorre said. “After graduating LBHS, I needed a job to help pay for college where I am studying biomedical engineering; I quickly came right back to the club as one of my first jobs and found a great love for this place.”=


Naked Dog Bistro Celebrates Anniversary

Canine lovers and owners are invited to celebrate the Naked Dog’s fifth year at 424 Forest Avenue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. Have a custom portrait made of your pet, glimpse the newest pet fashions, and enjoy discounts on all items in the store. Vendors will offer raffle prizes and everyone takes home a goodie bag.

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