Laguna Beach PD Welcomes New Captain

The LBPD recently announced the hire of Capt. Rachel Johnson. A badge pinning ceremony for Johnson and other new officers will take place on Feb. 13 in the City Council chambers. Photo courtesy of LBPD

The Laguna Beach Police Department recently announced the hire of Capt. Rachel Johnson. Johnson formerly worked as a police lieutenant for the Newport Beach Police Department. During her tenure of 14 years with NBPD, she was most recently assigned to the patrol division as a watch commander and jail manager. Johnson also oversaw the Police Explorer POST, Mounted Unit, Honor Guard and Reserve Officer Program.

Prior to joining NBPD, Johnson was an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy for four years, and prior to that, she served in the United States Marine Corps from 1997-2001, where she was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and San Diego. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix. Rachel was born and raised in Texas, is an avid baseball fan, runs half marathons, and is training for an ultra-marathon in 2020. She is the mother of three, ages 8, 11 and 13. LBPD officials said in a statement that Johnson is very excited for the opportunity to join the department and getting to know everyone.

The community is invited to a Laguna Beach Police Department badge pinning ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 1 p.m. in the City Council chambers. The ceremony will honor Johnson, as well as: Capt. Rich Rocchi, Officer James Denevan, Officer Britnie Priest, and Officer Brittany Royer.


Garden Club Presents Valentines Day Plant Sale, Open House

The Laguna Beach Garden Club is opening its doors to the public on Friday, Feb. 14, with a plant sale and open house. Photo courtesy of LBGC.

The Laguna Beach Garden Club is opening its doors to the public on Friday, Feb. 14, to encourage new membership and showcase their efforts on behalf of the community and schools in Laguna Beach.

The LBGC will have UCEE Master Gardeners speak at the Feb. 14 meeting. They will also be available as a resource for gardening questions and interests. In the spirit of Valentines Day, the club will have abundant container plants, homemade goodies and gifts available for purchase. The proceeds of all plant and gift sales will go to support LBGC programs.

The LBGC board is also currently looking for applicants to fill some positions for the 2020/2021 club year. All applicants will be considered. The LBGC is committed to the advancement of gardening, horticulture, ecology and conservation through education and participation in related community projects.

The Laguna Beach Garden Club meets on the second Friday of every month, September through May, at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Avenue, in Tankersley Hall. Social hour begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the 10 a.m. general meeting. The public is welcome; there is no charge for guests on their first visit. Parking is free in the Laguna Canyon Road lot (spaces 300-422) or $3 for all day in spaces 185-228. For more information on the garden club, visit


 Free Art in the Garden Workshop Next Weekend

The community is invited to a free sun catcher workshop at the Hortense Miller Garden on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9:45 a.m. to noon.

The community is invited to a free sun catcher workshop at the Hortense Miller Garden on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9:45 a.m. to noon. Take inspiration from the beauty around you to create your own interpretation of our coastal landscape of sea and flowers.

The workshop and all materials are free to participants. Those interested in attending must register in advance for the class by calling Marsha Bode at 949-244-2010 or emailing [email protected]. Directions for getting to the garden will be provided with registration.

The Hortense Miller Garden, a hidden Laguna gem, features a 2.5 acre garden with over a dozen unique trails and a pristine mid-century modern home build by Knowlton Fernald in 1958 on the slope of Boat Canyon. Tucked under towering Torrey Pines planted from one gallon saplings in 1959, there are over 600 plant species of which about 150 are California natives. The wondrous variety of plantings gives the garden color and texture during every season. The walls of glass of this home offer breathtaking ocean views. The original furnishings give the home a rare authenticity, fitting of a true Laguna artist. The Aviary Gallery features an exhibit of the original renderings of the home drawn by the architect in 1958.



Learn How to Compost at Community Garden Park

The public is invited to a free workshop, “Composting at Home, Why, How, Where?” on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. at the South Laguna Community Garden Park.

The public is invited to a free workshop, “Composting at Home, Why, How, Where?” on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. at the South Laguna Community Garden Park, 31610 Coast Highway at Eagle Rock Way.

Join Ryan “Farmer Leo” Goldsmith, farmer at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, and Ruben Flores, of Visionscape, Inc. and Laguna Nursery, to see how simple and rewarding composting kitchen and home waste into fertile, living soil amendment can be. Lessen your impact on the planet by recycling natural waste such as fireplace ash, kitchen scraps, and yard trimmings.

After the presentation, attendees will be invited to walk up Eagle Rock Way to Ryan’s home to see his efficient home compost system that provides a continuous supply of nutrients for the houseplants and garden, as Ruben teaches about the neighborhood landscape. Light refreshments will be enjoyed in Ryan’s yard.

Reserve your space at [email protected].


 Business Club to Host Council Member Sue Kempf

The Laguna Beach Business Club will host City Council Member Sue Kempf as the featured speaker at their Feb. 20 meeting.

The Laguna Beach Business Club recently announced City Council Member Sue Kempf as speaker at the Feb. 20 meeting. The LBBC holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 a.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in personal and professional lives.

Kempf is serving her first term as City Council member in Laguna Beach. Prior to her election win, she served three terms on the Planning Commission, co-chaired the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee and was a member of the View Ordinance Task Force. Kempf spent her entire career in the private sector as a company president and an executive in the technology industry.

Kempf will talk about the new Urban Economist Report on downtown Laguna Beach, as well as the major components of the proposed Downtown Specific Plan.

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Meetings are hosted at Seven7Seven, 777 Laguna Canyon Road. Non-members are welcome. The non-member guest fee is $30, payable in cash or check (payable to the Laguna Beach Business Club) the day of the meeting.

For more information about the LBBC or to register to attend a meeting, visit, email [email protected], or call member Pamela Knudsen at 949-285-3730.


Chamber Presents 32nd Annual Leadership Luncheon

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its 32nd annual “Leadership Luncheon” on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Seven7Seven, located at 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

In a welcoming, casual format, each guest has the opportunity to share their 60-second “elevator pitch” with fellow attendees, highlighting their 2019 business achievements and goals for 2020.

“The goal of the luncheon is to help organizations to connect, fostering communication beyond a one-time meeting,” said Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Executive Director of the Laguna Beach Chamber.

Representatives from a wide cross-section of local businesses and local nonprofits are expected to attend.

Tickets are $60 for Chamber members, $75 for prospective members. VIP tickets are $85 for Chamber members, $100 for prospective members. Register through the Chamber’s website at or by contacting the Chamber at 949-494-1018. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are also available.


New Business Announcements

The City of Laguna Beach recently issued a statement welcoming the following new businesses:

Fishbone Kitchen + Bar (formerly Tortilla Republic) located at 480 S. Coast Highway. Fishbone offers Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine, serves lunch and dinner daily, and also has event space available.

South Laguna welcomes AHBA (formerly Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen) located at 31732 Coast Highway. AHBA offers cuisine with Mediterranean roots and an “angle” toward Israeli casual fare. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch and offers a bar that looks onto the open kitchen as well as patio tables.


City Accepting Applications for Community Assistance & Cultural Arts Grants

The City of Laguna Beach is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to nonprofit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach.

The objective of the program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services and programs for the community. Additional information can be found at:

To be considered for a grant, applications must be submitted electronically by Friday, April 3, at 4:30 p.m. For more information on Community Assistance Grants, contact Becket Wilson, Community Services Administrative Assistant, at 949-497-0779 or [email protected].


Garden Club Awards Grants to Local Schools

Top of the World, El Morro and Thurston Middle Schools were presented a total of $5,500 in grants from the Laguna Beach Garden Club to support their outdoor education programs.

“TOW PTA is so fortunate to have the continued support of the Laguna Beach Garden Club. With their generous donation, we purchase greenhouse supplies, tools, seeds, soil amendments and other items needed to make our garden program thrive,” said Kelly Osborne of TOW.

“I agree with poet and environmental activist Wendell Berry when he said, ‘the Earth is what we all have in common.’ I also know that the Laguna Beach Garden Club believes that, because they support the endeavors TMS makes each year through their financial contributions,” said Penny Dressler.

“The best part of LBGC is giving to support outdoor education for kids. I love to see that our investment has helped bring learning into a real-world environment,” said LBGC board president Nancy Englund.

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