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Fire Fears Smother Hopes for Dream Home

Jae “Randy” Song paid $685,000 for a bucolic 12-acre lot in Canyon Acres at a bank auction in 2010. Assurances from the previous owner and various city officials that he would have “no problem” rebuilding on the footprints of the original home and...

Schools Budget Grows by 7%

With a 4 percent across-the-board employee pay raise scheduled, the Laguna Beach Unified School District board approved a $52.9 million budget for the coming fiscal year, which includes a 7 percent jump in revenue, according to a preliminary report. Budget growth is due to a 6.6...

Pageant Pursues Happiness Across Every Era

By Torie Hamilton, Special to the Independent “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and—the pursuit of happiness,” booms narrator Richard...

Claims Over Coutchie’s Death Now Uncertain

The parents of a Laguna Beach police officer who died on duty two years ago in a traffic collision this week asked the Orange County Superior Court to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against the driver of the other vehicle and two other defendants. Luciana and...

Council Cracks Down on Absentees

To signal its intolerance for skipped meetings by members of city boards, the City Council amended its attendance policy and established that four absences in a year would place the appointment in jeopardy. The Council will then review the circumstances of the absences and decide...

Merchants Oppose Closing Forest Avenue to Cars

Many downtown merchants left their shops this week to protest at City Hall, expressing their dismay with the proposed 13-day trial closure of a section of Forest Avenue to vehicular traffic in August. Creating a pedestrian mall on Forest between Coast Highway and Glenneyre Street...

LBHS Scholarships Hit Record Amount

Four days before tonight’s scholarship awards convocation at Laguna Beach High School, Lynn Gregory was in crunch-time, “buried” under phone calls, getting out last-minute invitations and sending “no” letters to rejected applicants. Of 222 graduating seniors, 114 are receiving...

Recycling Gets Serious

Residents and businesses that routinely toss the wrong kind of garbage into their green waste and recycle bins may now be fined for their negligence, one of several trash disposal changes the City Council considered last week. Waste Management, the city’s garbage collector,...

Summer Trolleys Track Simpler Routes

Summer trolleys will roll along the same coastal route as the off-season weekend trolleys that began in March, running north to south along Coast Highway without detouring for a connection at the downtown bus depot. In recent years, summer trolleys followed loops originating from...

Fans Return to Applaud Dressler

After 25 years of building an acclaimed student drama program at Laguna Beach Unified School District, Mark Dressler is expected to experience another outstanding showing. More than 150 former students, parents, friends and theatrical associates are planning to attend Dressler’s...

Media Owner Gives Employees a Parting Gift

Ownership of the Laguna Beach Independent newspaper, Laguna Beach Magazine and other publications of Firebrand Media will soon shift to 10 of its employees. Owner Allan Simon, who since 2009 has invested $7 million in expanding the company’s portfolio with new titles, announced...

Schools Receive Sizeable School Power Gifts

Two longtime school fundraising organizations awarded the Laguna Beach Unified School District some of its largest gifts ever this past Tuesday, May. 26. A check for $316,117 was gifted to the district by School Power, a volunteer fundraising group that augments the school’s...

Quakes Continue to Unsettle Nepal

As aftershocks shook the house where he was writing last week, Rabindra Sitaula, program manager for Laguna Beach-based R Star Foundation, sent a progress report about supply deliveries to quake hit villages. Sitaula had just come from Khampur, Bagultar, where he distributed...

Memorial Day Activities

Veterans Stage 88th Memorial Day Ceremony Laguna Beach American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct the 88th Memorial Day ceremony in remembrance of their comrades who died in wars and conflicts protecting our country at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25, at Monument Point...