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Laguna Beach powers through costs of hiring new ambulance team

By Megan Miller, Special to the Independent The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved city staffers’ recommendations Tuesday to push forward on hiring its own ambulance team despite concerns over staffing models and costs. Councilmembers have been following the recommendations of Fire Chief Mike Garcia closely in the development of an...

Kim Carr to run for 36th State Senate District

Huntington Beach councilmember Kim Carr announced her candidacy for the newly drawn 36th State Senate District, which now includes Laguna Beach, on Tuesday. The district now runs along the Orange County coastline from San Clemente to Seal Beach and stretches inland to several West County cities. Karr plans to run...

Street Beat: Jan. 13 to Jan. 18, 2022

Thursday, Jan. 13 Disorderly conduct. Justin Talmage Pachoco, 36, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor solicitation of a lewd act, misdemeanor indecent exposure, parole violation, and a misdemeanor bench warrant. He was held on a $1,600 bail. DUI. John Edward Denton, 46, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and driving...

Laguna Beach High School COVID-19 positivity rate dips after holiday spike

By Megan Miller, Special to the Independent Laguna Beach High School saw a decline in COVID-19 cases this week after a post-holiday surge, which resulted in unusually high positivity rates compared to other public high schools in the region. As of Wednesday, the Laguna Beach Unified School District dashboard reported 67...

Survey illuminates poor morale among some Laguna Beach police employees

A survey conducted by the labor union representing Laguna Beach police employees reported poor morale among a cohort of the rank and file, alarming some local officials and policing experts. The Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association issued the survey to its members after the City Council contracted a research firm,...

In shock to Laguna sports community, beloved baseball coach Jeff Sears dies at 55

The most successful baseball coach in the sport’s 84-year history at Laguna Beach High School died at Providence Mission Hospital on Sunday. Jeff Sears was 55 years old. Sears had a number of lingering health issues over the years but the shock has hit the high school sports community hard....

Tsunami warning issued for West Coast including Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach braced for strong surf Saturday following a tsunami advisory for coastal Orange County connected to the Tonga volcanic eruption. As of 2:40 p.m., the advisory from the National Tsunami Warning Center was in effect until further notice. Orange County is not seeing significant impacts and has had no...

Street Beat: Jan. 6 to Jan. 11, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Laguna Beach Police Department informed the Independent on Jan. 6 that it would discontinue its practice of routinely providing redacted emergency dispatch logs to the press. The Department continues to post arrest logs to the city website but these documents omit publicly releasable information: time and...

Laguna Beach USD opts to keep in-person board meetings amid COVID-19 surge

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the outcome of the school board's vote. The Independent regrets the error. The Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education agreed to continue meeting in person amid a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases but will...

Laguna Beach zeroes in on affordable housing sites

By Megan Miller, Special to the Independent The Laguna Beach City Council greenlit staff on Tuesday to take a closer look at three publicly-owned properties for the development of affordable housing, juggling concerns over cost and location. Planning Commissioner Steven Kellenberg presented a list of six sites, each including rough plan...