Tax Credit Proposed for Caregivers

Assmeblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). Photo by Daniel Langhorne.

Assembly members Cottie Petrie-Norris and Jim Patterson have introduced AB 2136, which establishes a new care-giver tax credit of up to $5,000 annually for home health care aides, retrofitting a home for improved accessibility or purchasing medical equipment, a statement said.

An AARP study recently reported “caregivers on average contribute $6,954 annually to their loved one’s care.” AARP further found that “87% of people age 65 and older wants to stay in their current home or community as they age.”

The bill is supported by AARP, Alliance on Aging, Association of California Caregiver Resource Center, California association for Health Services at Home, MemorialCare, TCARE and United Ways of California.

Music Center Awards Scholarships

The Music Center named two Laguna Beach residents among 113 Southern California high school students as semifinalists in its 32nd annual Spotlight program. Spotlight is a free nationally acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens, the Music Center said in a statement.

Laguna residents J.J. Lybbert, a student at California Connections Academy will compete in the Jazz Instrumental category and Tatiana Cloobeck, a student at St. Margaret’s Episcopal High School is competing in the Non-Classical Voice category.

The arts training program gives students the opportunity to develop their performance abilities, learn about careers in arts management and receive valuable college preparedness and workforce readiness skills. This year 1,400 students auditioned in seven categories— acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental.

Semifinalists will attend a master class in their genre and get feedback on their performances. They then audition again before a new panel of judges, who will select the top two finalist performers in each category for a total of 14 Grand Prize Finalists. Judges will also name an Honorable Mention in each category. The Grand Prize Finalists will perform at The Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre in the Spotlight Grand Finale Performance on May 30.

Both grand prize finalists in each category receive $5,000 scholarships, with one Honorable Mention in each category receiving $1,000. Semifinalists each receive $300. Five students in each category will receive the Merit Award worth $100.

The Music Center in partnership with Interlochen Center for the Arts will award all Spotlight semifinalists scholarships dollars to Interlochen’s summer camp and arts academy for the 2020- 2021 academic year. All participants in the preliminary second round of Spotlight auditions also received scholarships from Interlochen to use toward one of the organization’s three- or six-week programs.

For more information, visit


Physical Therapy Office Expands at New Location

Mary Kate Saunders Physical Therapy will relocate to 906 Glenneyre St. on March 16. The new location is in the courtyard between Caduceus on Thalia and Laguna Sunset Drug.

“We strive to restore patients function so they may return to a more active lifestyle,”  Saunders said in a prepared statement.

(From left) Cindy Maul, Mimi Bialek, Mary Kate Saunders, Lisa Pitz, Estelle Verdugo, and Frankie Harrigan of Mary Kate Saunders Physical Therapy. Courtesy of Lisa Pitz.

After 18 years in practice, Saunders and her staff treat post-operative joint replacements, cervical and lumbar conditions, shoulder and knee injuries, and general sprains. The team also sees patients with neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, and balance impairments. However, a medical doctor’s referral is required to make an appointment.

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. The office is closed Friday thru Sunday. For more information, call 949-494-2046.

Calling All Poets

The theme for the 22nd annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest is, “I believe in Superheroes.” Poets of all ages have until April 30 to submit up to two original poems of not more than 25 lines each including spaces between stanzas. Do not put name or contact information on the poem. Personal contact information should only be written on a form attached to the poems. Obtain an entry form by emailing [email protected] or visiting the Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St. For more information, call 949-497-173


Free Event to Promote School Readiness

Passport to Learning, a community event designed to help families with children aged two to five years build fine and gross motor skills and learn communication skills for school success will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28 at Laguna Presbyterian preschool, 415 Forest Ave. RSVP to

Correction: In the March 6 story, Randy Kraft Releases Third Book it is stated that Kraft wrote the story “I Stand Here Ironing.” In fact, the story was written by Tillie Olsen. Kraft wrote a response to the story while in graduate school. The Independent regrets the mistake.


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