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A Radical Rises Again

Laguna Beach artist G. Ray Kerciu believes political correctness motivated South Carolina’s governor to call for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state’s capitol. The decades-old debate over a flag symbolic of racism reignited following a racially motivated shooting...

Updated: Fire Closes Canyon Road

A brush fire pushed by afternoon winds forced a five-hour closure of Laguna Canyon Road on Friday, July 3, and one fire fighter was injured in fighting the 12-acre fire, police said. Retardant dropping aircraft and about 150 firefighters successfully halted the forward progress...

Love Blooms Between Pageant Volunteers

                  By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent More than 1,200 people turned out to audition in January for this summer’s Pageant of the Masters, a show that would not proceed without the dedication of volunteers. Even...

Lightning Strike Ignites a Tree Blaze

Lightning struck a tree that caught fire in the Temple Terrace area during this past Tuesday’s unexpected afternoon thunderstorm. Four fire engines spent several minutes dousing a palm tree in the 2000 block of San Remo Drive to prevent the blaze from spreading to homes along the...

Ex-Pro Surfer Held for Suspicion of Drug Dealing

  A retired professional surfer and co-founder of the Gotcha surfwear brand was arrested for suspicion of drug dealing after Laguna Beach police seized $2,000 worth of cocaine in his home last week, police said Monday, June 22. Police charged Michael Elliot Tomson, 60, of...

Former Pro Surfer Held for Suspicion of Drug Dealing

  A retired professional surfer and co-founder of the Gotcha surfwear brand was arrested for suspicion of drug dealing after Laguna Beach police discovered $2,000 worth of cocaine in his home last week, police said Monday, June 22. Police charged Michael Elliot Tomson, 60,...

Updated: Adventurous Artist Cheryl Ekstrom Dies

One of Laguna Beach’s most original creative forces, artist Cheryl Ekstrom, died Saturday, June 13, at UC Irvine Medical Center due to complications from cancer treatment begun just months earlier. She was 71. From under a wavy burgundy bob and a tiny frame, Ekstrom for more than...

Streetbeat

Monday, June 8 Drug activity. 600 block of Park Ave. 2:50 p.m. Officers issued a citation to a student in possession of marijuana and notified his parents. Vehicle burglary. 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. 3:38 p.m. A laptop and passport were taken from a car where a window was...

Sculptor Cheryl Ekstrom Dies

Longtime Laguna Beach artist and sculptor Cheryl Ekstrom died unexpectedly last weekend. Friends say she was diagnosed with liver cancer earlier this year. In April, Ekstrom dazzled the local art community at the annual Art Star awards with her latest work, “Setting Forth.” It...

Multiple Offender Re-arrested

Police arrested suspected drunk driver Derek Haskayne, 51, of Orange, on Sunday, June 7, after he refused to yield on Coast Highway and then plowed into a light pole near Aster Street and Cliff Drive about 4 p.m. Sgt. Tim Kleiser says investigating officers found a container of...

Fleeing Suspect Collared in South Laguna

A brief manhunt in South Laguna sent people scurrying indoors as two law enforcement helicopters circled and siren-blaring cars jammed the small lanes Monday, June 1. Laguna police say sheriff’s deputies collared a man hiding in bushes near Scenic and Fourth Street who earlier...

Poisoned Sea Lions Return to the Wild

With an entourage of onlookers lining the sand, 14 of 17 sea lions injured by chlorine mysteriously dumped into a marine wildlife rehabilitation facility last month scampered from Main Beach back into their native habitat Tuesday. The 14 sea lions released had all received...

Artist’s Death Attributed to Natural Causes

  Well-regarded Laguna Beach artist Terry Thornsley died of natural causes, supervising Deputy Coroner Mitchell Sigal said Monday. An autopsy was conducted Thursday, May 28, on Thornsley’s body, he said. Thornsley, 57, a sculptor and painter, in April was nominated as artist...

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...

The Kibitzer

Vacation Rentals Can Work in Laguna I love home share sites like AirBnB and VRBO. They have shrunken the world and democratized hospitality in a marvelous way. I stay in unique architectural abodes in interesting neighborhoods, instead of hotels in tourist districts. I have a...