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City restores open space, known as the DeWitt property, in Laguna Canyon

A restoration of almost five acres of City-owned open space in Laguna Canyon is nearing the first phase of completed improvements. The restoration of this parcel, known as the DeWitt property, includes removal of non-native trees and shrubs, re-contouring of the “dirt piles” along approximately 1,000 feet of Laguna Canyon Rd frontage, and installing of rustic lodge pole pine rail fencing along the roadway to define the property line. 

“The DeWitt property project is the result of a successful partnership to restore open space in Laguna Canyon,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig.  “We are thrilled to help preserve and restore this property for future generations and could not have done so without the City Council’s support.” 

The 110-acre DeWitt property was purchased by the City in 1991. Throughout its history, the property once contained an orchard of walnut trees, was later used as a hog farm, and finally a riding stable. Remnant walnut trees still exist on the site and were retained. The site borders Anneliese School to the north and the Sun Valley neighborhood to the south. 

City restores DeWitt

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Drone shot of DeWitt property

Phase 1 of the 4.8-acre restoration included the re-contouring of dirt piles at the site leftover from storm run-off following the Toll Road construction and decades of illegal dumping. Numerous tires, metal pipes, concrete chunks, and related materials were also removed from the site as part of Phase 1 restoration. Phase 2 will begin November 1 and includes the planting of native trees, shrubs, groundcovers and wildflowers. 

“This project will not only clean up the area and restore it to its natural beauty, but also create public trails parallel to Laguna Canyon Road to provide an off-street alternative for pedestrians, as well as nature trails along Laguna Canyon Creek,” Pietig said.

Laguna Greenbelt Board Members prepared a Master Plan for restoring and enhancing Laguna Canyon Creek in 2015, and the DeWitt property restoration was one of their recommended action areas. The project was presented to the California River Parkways Grant Program, with support and sponsorship by the City of Laguna Beach Water Quality Department.

 “The DeWitt property is one of the last sections of a soft bottom Laguna Creek south of the Toll Road, and it is wonderful to have it restored to its natural splendor,” said Laguna Greenbelt Board Member Bob Borthwick. 

City restores woods

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Area restored to natural splendor

The project was funded by $500,000 from the State of California River Parkways Grant Program, along with $125,000 City matching funds. Amongst competition from agencies and communities throughout the State, the DeWitt project received the maximum grant amount that was awarded.

Supplemental funding and donations were provided by the Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation and the Laguna Greenbelt, Incorporated. Project direction is provided by the City’s Water Quality Department, with project management and implementation provided by the Laguna Canyon Foundation. Project design and coordination was by BGB Design Group. 

“Restoring this critical resource, one of the last natural creeks left in Laguna, is something the City can be proud of for generations,” said Hallie Jones, executive director of Laguna Canyon Foundation.

“When the State’s project evaluation team visited the City, they could tell that everyone involved was highly enthusiastic and committed to the project,” said Laguna Beach’s Director of Water Quality, David Shissler. “Collaborating with the Laguna Canyon Foundation, the Laguna Greenbelt, the Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation and BGB Design Group has been a pleasure.”

City Remembrance Ceremony today marks the 5th anniversary of officer Jon Coutchie’s passing

Beloved fallen LBPD Motor Officer Jon Coutchie, who, devastatingly, was killed in a crash on Sept 21, 2013, at the young age of 41, will be remembered today at the City Remembrance Ceremony at 5:30 p.m., along with Officer Gordon French, who was killed while on duty in 1953. The ceremony marks the fifth anniversary of Officer Coutchie’s End of Watch.

In honor of Officer Coutchie’s ultimate sacrifice five years ago, City employees, family, friends, and members of the community are encouraged to attend the event to remember him and Officer French.

Six months after Coutchie became a motor officer in March 2013, he died after a crash at Cleo Street and Coast Highway while responding to a report of a reckless driver.

City Remembrance Ceremony Jon

The Remembrance Ceremony on Sept 21 will mark the 5th anniversary of Officer Jon Coutchie’s death in the line of duty

The Remembrance Ceremony has become an annual tradition that is open to any member of the public wishing to attend. Last year more than 100 people were in attendance for the ceremony, which included a presentation by the LBPD Honor Guard and comments by LBPD Capt Jeff Calvert and former LBPD Chief Paul Workman. 

The ceremony will take place outside of the LBPD in front of the Eternal Legacy memorial beginning at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Sept 21. Refreshments will immediately follow the event.

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi found this foot somewhere in town. Looks like it’s recently had a pedicure… 

Where is it? Let Maggi know if you’ve seen it too.

Drop her a note with your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 9 21 18b

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What a day at the Brooks Street Classic

Photos by Scott Brashier

What a MacDonald

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Troy MacDonald, First Place Longboard, Fourth Place Sr Men (24-29) 

What a Saunders

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Morgan Saunders wows the crowd!

What a Gibbs

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Chad Gibbs, Third Place in Grand Masters (50+)

TOW honored as 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

Top of the World Elementary was recognized on Wednesday, Sept 19 for its innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. 

TOW was among 46 schools and six districts to receive the Green Ribbon School recognition. Just five schools in California received the Green Ribbon School honor, including TOW.

TOW honored among sign

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(L-R) TOW Elementary Principal Mike Conlon and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jeff Dixon attended as representatives of the district

Top of the World Elementary School was nominated by the California Department of Education (CDE) for its focus on developing environmentally and socially conscious students by providing opportunities for them to make positive impacts locally and globally. 

“Environmental education and sustainability practices at Top of the World Elementary have an immeasurable impact on our students,” said Top of the World Elementary Principal Michael Conlon. He continued, “The sustainability practices have measurable outcomes that reinforce to students that their actions have an impact and that what they do matters. Being selected as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School is a reminder for all of us at Top of the World that we can make a difference.”

More information on the federal recognition can be found here.

The Amazing Honey Bee talk will feature award-winning honey tasting on Sept 29

Robin Jones of Honey Girl Grows will share some fascinating insights about the Honey Bee at the South Laguna Community Garden Park, on Saturday, Sept 29 at 10 a.m.

The Amazing Honey hive

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Topics will include hive mentality, bee behaviors, Colony Collapse Disorder, roles within the monarchy, and more. The community is invited to learn how to support our pollinators and to benefit from the medicinal properties of bee products. The event will end with a tasting of several of Honey Girl Grows’ national award-winning honeys.

Robin is a multi-generational beekeeper trained under Randy Oliver, renowned for his science-based approach to beekeeping. She is currently involved in creating educational apiaries that will benefit local communities, and is working on several conservation projects including designing an apiary and edible garden at the Camp Pendleton Military Base.

As a part of the South Laguna Community Garden Park Workshop Series, this event is free and open to the public. RSVP by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations to the Garden Park are always welcomed. 

South Laguna Community Garden Park is located at Eagle Rock Way and Coast Hwy.

Sukkot activities at Chabad Laguna Beach will include an evening under the stars

Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection God provided for the children of Israel when they left Egypt. Jewish people celebrate Sukkot by dwelling in a foliage-covered booth known as a Sukkah, and by taking the “Four Kinds”, four special species of vegetation.

Sukkot activities at kids

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Kids create crafts and enjoy fun-filled activities during the youth event

The following is the schedule of events at Chabad Laguna Beach. On Sunday, Sept 23, evening service will be at 7 p.m.; on Monday, Sept 24, morning service will be at 10:30 a.m. and evening service will be at 7 p.m.; on Tuesday, Sept 25, service will be at 10:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, Sept 26 beginning at 7 p.m., residents are invited to join in an evening under the stars and enjoy schmoozing, music and a delicious buffet dinner. 

Then, on Thursday, Sept 27 at 4:30 p.m., celebrate at a JYZ Youth Zone event for kids of all ages. Kids will create wooden holiday crafts, enjoy stories, activities, and Lulav and Etrog Shakes, for just $8 per child.

Ending the Sukkot celebrations will be a Simchat Torah festival on Monday, Oct 1 at 7 p.m. Enjoy dancing with the Torah’s, a fantastic buffet, and a celebration including flags for the kids. 

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ribbon cutting ceremony celebrates opening of Laguna resident Tala Brinderson’s Infinity Kids

Tala Brinderson and Amanda Fink, Occupation Therapists and founders of Infinity Kids, move fast. This past April, Brinderson and Fink decided to become “OTpreneurs” and quickly founded Infinity Kids pediatric therapy group, which opened its doors in Lake Forest two months later. 

Last month, they celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Infinity Kids specializes in treating infants to school-aged children with developmental delays, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, feeding and/or swallowing delays, language difficulties, and other genetic and neurological disorders. 

Ribbon cutting group

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Group celebrates opening

Tala Brinderson, born and raised in Laguna Beach, always knew she wanted to work with children with special needs. She learned about the Occupational Therapy profession after going to college and immediately took the required pre-requisites for graduate school. She earned a Masters in Occupational Therapy from USC and worked in pediatric settings for several years before deciding to be a stay at home mom. 

Ribbon cutting kid with hat

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Child enjoys festivities

Brinderson says, “One feature that sets Infinity Kids apart from other clinics is its outdoor space and garden. The space was created to mimic a child’s natural environment and help children transition newly acquired skills into their home environment. We felt having a garden would be a great way to involve kids in the process of planting to enhance their sense of touch.” 

The group’s mission also appears to set them apart from other clinics: “Infinity Kids’ mission is to enable all children with and without a diagnosis to participate in all their daily occupations to the best of their ability through play. Infinity Kids consists of a multidisciplinary team that believes in looking at the whole child using a family-centered approach. 

Ribbon cutting awards

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Infinity Kids has received many awards and recognition

“Working with pediatric therapists from different disciples (occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, and marriage and family therapists) enables us to collaborate together for the best benefit of each child we treat. All of our therapists have numerous years of experience in pediatrics with advanced certifications enabling them to provide the most evidenced based treatment,” says Brinderson. 

“The name Infinity Kids was an obvious choice for us as occupational therapists, because the infinity symbol is something frequently used in therapy to address ‘crossing midline.’ We believe that every child deserves infinite opportunities and possibilities to succeed in life.” 

Infinity Kids is located at 22691 Lambert St #502, Lake Forest.

For more information, go to or call (949) 273-6503

Rattlesnake avoidance training for dogs available

A rattlesnake training for dogs clinic will be held in Laguna Beach on Saturday, Sept 29 and Sunday, Sept 30 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers encourage residents: “Protect you, your dog, and your family from deadly rattlesnake bites. Most rattlesnake bites occur in and around trails, parks, and even in back and front yard areas. As the drought worsens, rodents and snakes have moved closer to home and more bites are being reported and treated.

“The approximate cost to treat and save your dog from a deadly rattlesnake bite is between $4,000 and $6,000. The rattlesnake vaccination is recommended, however, at best it can only give you more time to get your pet to an emergency veterinarian.”

Rattlesnake avoidance training

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Photo by Marrie Stone

Rattlesnake avoidance training for dogs could save your pet’s life

The training sessions are organized by well-known local Sandi Thornton and Ce Ce Card, whose cat is Aragon the Cat, former Glee star and World Kindness Cat for Laguna Beach. Call Sandi at (949) 463-1904 to register and schedule a 20 to 30-minute appointment. 

The cost is $125 per dog.

Laguna Ocean Foundation seeking volunteer docents

The Laguna Ocean Foundation is currently looking for volunteer Tidepool Docents to educate the public about the unique ecology in Laguna’s protected tidepools. The next class training will be held on Wednesday, Sept 26 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Back Bay Science Center, 600 Shellmaker Road, Newport Beach. Docents are required to be at least 18 years of age and volunteer at the tidepools at least once monthly. 

Laguna Ocean Foundation star

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Tidepool docents share the wonderful marine life in the tidepools with others

Explore the opportunity to become a Tidepool Docent and experience the excitement of sharing the marine life in the tidepools with local residents and visitors. 

To sign up for the program or for further information, contact Suzanne Welsh, Tidewater Docent Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 522-5187. 

Laguna Ocean Foundation beach

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Volunteers are needed to educate the public on Laguna’s protected tidepools

The mission of Laguna Ocean Foundation is to preserve and protect the intertidal zone, watersheds and ocean waters of Laguna Beach and to educate the public about the importance of protecting these resources. For more information, visit

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