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Street Beat: June 20 to June 27, 2022

Monday, June 20 Squatting. Michael Patrick Cowan, 49, of Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of illegal squatting at a lodging establishment. Parole violation. Joseph Artzer, 55, of Marina del Rey was arrested on suspicion of felony parole violation and misdemeanor shoplifting. He was held without bail. Tuesday, June 21 Public intoxication. Karena...

Firefighters knock down fire near Thurston Middle School

Laguna Beach firefighters were working on a contained house fire in the area of Park Avenue and Hillview Drive on Wednesday morning, according to a Nixle alert. Arriving fire engine crews found a two-story home with flames visible from both levels in the front of the home. Firefighters made entry...

Laguna Beach ambulance fleet stands by to relieve contractor

After 25 years of responding to 911 calls for service about medical emergencies, traffic collisions, injured swimmers, and more—a Doctor’s Ambulance is slated to depart Fire Station 1 for the last time Friday. The contracted white-and-blue blue ambulances will be replaced with red ambulances crewed by an in-house team of...

Laguna Beach USD Superintendent’s new salary exceeds $331,000

The top employee of the Laguna Beach Unified School District will see his annual salary increase to $331,813 starting Friday. A 3% pay increase and other contract amendments for Supt. Jason Viloria were approved by the Board of Education on a 4-1 vote on June 23. Board member Dee Perry...

Sawdust Art Festival preview night draws crowd

Tasmin McGill, Special to the Independent As the Sawdust Art Festival enters its first weekend of the season, it held preview night on June 21 to show guests what they can expect this summer. Although the gates opened at 6 p.m. the line to enter stretched down the block. Neighbors waved...

$5M listing casts doubt on future of South Laguna Community Garden

A parcel hosting the South Laguna Community Garden Park was listed for $5 million on Friday, throwing the future of a beloved watering hole into doubt. Since 2009, the use of the 7,522-square-foot property has been donated by the overseas property owner. "We are working with the realtors involved to arrange...

Laguna Beach rallies to defend abortion rights after high court ruling

By Tasmin McGill and Daniel Langhorne About 200 people rallied in support of women’s reproductive rights at Main Beach Park on Friday evening, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn women’s constitutional right to abortion. Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties hosted the rally in conjunction with protests...

Street Beat: June 15 to June 19, 2022

Wednesday, June 15 Bench warrant. Michael Patrick Cowan, 50, of Laguna Beach was arrested on suspicion of three open misdemeanor bench warrants. He was held on a $30,500 bail. Public drug use. Amber Kristen Castillo, 44, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor public use of a controlled substance. Her bail amount...

Innovative Laguna Beach High School English teacher retires 

By Timothy Hessen, Special to the Independent In the months before the pandemic, English teacher Dawn Hunnicutt accomplished her goal of launching a Creative Writing course at Laguna Beach High School. Although she had to finish the school year remotely, her poetry workshop left a strong impression on the family...

Laguna Beach rally slated to protest high court ruling on abortion rights

Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties will host a rally opposing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn women's constitutional right to abortion at 6 p.m. on Friday at Main Beach Park in Laguna Beach. California's top elected officials swiftly responded saying they will defend abortion rights in...