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Category: Featured

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Body of Missing Ex-Laguna Man Found

Body of Missing Ex-Laguna Man Found

By Kellie Hall, Special to the Independent The body of Mike Herdman, a 36-year-old Arcadia firefighter and paramedic, was found in the Los Padres National Forest Friday, June 27, almost two weeks after being reported missing by fellow firefighter and paramedic, Taylor Byars, authorities said. Herdman graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1996 and […]

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Appeal Seeks to Rein in Ranch Makeover

Appeal Seeks to Rein in Ranch Makeover

The remodel underway at The Ranch, the former Aliso Creek Inn hotel and restaurant in Aliso Canyon, is being challenged as unlawful in a hearing before the California Coastal Commission Wednesday, July 9, in Ventura. If the commission follows the recommendation of its staff, the project would be subject to a de novo review by […]

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Remarks Spark Speculation About School Leader

Remarks Spark Speculation About School Leader

Prior to an annual closed-door performance evaluation with the Laguna Beach school board, the district’s top administrator said during a public session Monday, June 30, that she is not seeking a renewal of her contract. Superintendent Sherine Smith, whose $234,000 a year contract expires in 2016, was unavailable for comment, said her executive assistant, Victoria […]

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Lowdown for Today’s Holiday

Lowdown for Today’s Holiday

  The city sponsored Fourth of July fireworks show begin at 9 p.m. at Monument Point in Heisler Park tonight. That area of the park will be closed all day, Friday, July 4.  At noon, picnickers in the area of Heisler Park from the Rock Bench at Myrtle Street to the Rockpile Beach stairs at […]

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Tragedy Sparks Movement for Safer Streets

Tragedy Sparks Movement for Safer Streets

Billy Fried, Max Isles and Tamara Hlava are fed up with the city’s dearth of safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists. For the trio, the car-on-bike accident that fatally injured 55-year-old Laguna Beach bicyclist John Greg Colvin on North Coast Highway June 17 served as a catalyst. “We were all so outraged that we decided […]

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SoLag Skimmer Wins Third Vic

SoLag Skimmer Wins Third Vic

Last Sunday at Aliso Beach, the United Skim Tour’s number two-ranked Sam Stinnet beat number one-ranked Austin Keen to capture his third Victoria Skimboards World Championship of Skimboarding title in the past four years. “It’s an insane feeling. I can’t even describe it,” said the eight-year pro, a SoLag native and two-time tour champion. “This […]

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Council Raises Pay of Top Manager

Council Raises Pay of Top Manager

The City Council adopted changes to the city’s 2014-15 budget last week, finalizing proposed uses for a $1.3 million windfall thanks to higher revenue estimates. The revisions, along with other tweaks, bring the budget to $51.7 million, up from the $49.7 million originally outlined in the two-year budget adopted last year. The newly budgeted items […]

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Realtors Block Sale-Triggered Sewer Inspections

Realtors Block Sale-Triggered Sewer Inspections

Considering options to reduce sewage spills, the City Council rejected a controversial proposal to require home sellers to inspect their own sewer connections with video cameras, a measure opposed by realtors. Instead, they asked city staff to draw up an alternate proposal that might require all property owners to examine their sewer lines with video […]

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Canyon Residents Reject Homeless Neighbors

Canyon Residents Reject Homeless Neighbors

Tempers flared during the second of three community forums hosted by the Friendship Shelter last week to discuss their permanent supportive housing proposal. Thursday’s meeting targeted the project’s impact on Laguna Canyon, but at the outset many of the 45 or so canyon residents who showed up seemed more interested in opposing its location in […]

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Schools Just Average for Computer Use

Schools Just Average for Computer Use

Laguna public schools are average when it comes to computer collaboration in the classroom, according to a survey of students and teachers by the school district’s new technology director. And Mike Morrison said it’s his job to change that. More students need to use computers to collaborate on projects more often and to communicate with […]

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Guards Hook a New Home

Guards Hook a New Home

The entire Laguna Beach City Council was present to cut the ribbon last Friday on the city’s $7 million lifeguard headquarters, a more than year-long construction project at the north end of Main Beach initiated in 1999 and redesigned six times. “This building will allow employees to be more effective and accessible,” Chief Kevin Snow […]

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Festival Nurtures a Family of Artists

Festival Nurtures a Family of Artists

By Kellie Hall, Special to the Independent Artists credit the Sawdust Festival, the arts and crafts festival whose 48th summer show opens Friday, June 27 and continues through Sunday, Aug. 31, with providing them financial support and creative motivation for an entire year. The entirety of jewelry-maker and 30-year festival veteran Karen Joy’s yearly income […]

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Hikers Find Body of Homeless Man

Hikers Find Body of Homeless Man

Two hikers discovered the body of a man described by Laguna Beach police as a member of the local homeless population on a Laguna Coast Wilderness Park trail early Thursday, June 26. The cause of death has not been established and is pending an autopsy by the Orange County Coroner’s Office, said Capt. Jason Kravetz. […]

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Sister Exhibits Illustrate Brandt’s Legacy

Sister Exhibits Illustrate Brandt’s Legacy

Laguna College of Art and Design lacks any finished Rex Brandt paintings in its possession, but boasts 80 boxes, many still unpacked, of the artist’s archives. The cache of sketchbooks, textbooks written by Brandt, as well as his brushes and a well-worn easel were donated to the college three years ago by his wife Joan […]

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Senior Center Looks For a Younger Crowd

Senior Center Looks For a Younger Crowd

By Kellie Hall, Special to the Independent Residents over 55 are the fastest growing demographic in Laguna Beach, and the volunteers and staff of the Susi Q senior center are trying to cater to them and bring in younger participants. The median age of local residents reported on the 2010 U.S. Census was 49.4, six […]