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Laguna Beach


Resident hospitalized following coyote attack

At approximately 7:45 a.m. this morning, Friday, May 15, a coyote attacked a 91-year-old male resident in the driveway of his home on Oak Street near Temple Terrace. The resident was in his driveway by himself, and the coyote came up behind him and bit him on the legs. The coyote caused significant bite injuries to the resident’s legs, with blood coming out. The resident was transported to the hospital. 

“The resident will be OK and recover from his injuries,” said LBPD Sgt PIO Jim Cota. “The injuries consisted of four teeth puncture wounds in each calf. There were no dogs or other animals present that would have provoked the attack.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to capture the coyote in question. The City has asked residents to be vigilant and alert until the coyote is captured. 

The City would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents of important safeguards to protect themselves and their pets and property from these wild animals.

Like most communities located in semi-rural areas, Laguna Beach has active coyote populations. Due to the brushy canyon areas and natural “den-type” rock formations, our hillsides provide an attractive environment for coyotes and other animals. However, coyotes do not require open space to survive, and have successfully adapted to living in close proximity to humans. 

Coyotes are most active at dusk and dawn, and in urban environments they are more active at night but they can be seen at any time of day. The primary threat coyotes usually pose is to pets that are allowed to run loose. Animal Services recommends that pets not be let outside during evening hours unless the owner is next to the pet to prevent a coyote attack.

A Laguna Beach Animal Control Officer will respond to coyote calls if a coyote is seen in the daytime in areas around people, especially children, or any time there is an attack or threatening behavior towards a person or pet. If you have any concerns regarding wild animals, or see a coyote in a residential area, please call Laguna Beach Animal Services at (949) 497-0701. You may also report coyote sightings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


3,749 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 43 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 13, reflect that there have been 3,749 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 147 new cases reported today. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 43 cases to date, a net increase of two cases today.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.814 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 53 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 4.522 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 130 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 144 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 581 reported cases to date, a net increase of 36 cases today. Santa Ana has had 586 reported cases to date, a net increase of 16 cases today.

The County reports 314 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 80 deaths due to COVID-19, including three deaths reported today. 248 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 98 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 57,167 people as of today, with a 6.6 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 13;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Hoag Hospital presents chain of gratitude using #OCTogether sharing stories of everyday heroes

Hoag Hospital is calling on Orange County to help launch a social media campaign to celebrate our local heroes in Orange County. During the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers – such as Hoag’s physicians, nurses, technicians, and staff have made personal sacrifices, put their own health at risk and remained resilient in service to our community. 

Countless others have done the same from law enforcement, firefighters, grocery store workers, postal carriers, delivery drivers, daycare professionals, restaurant owners and workers, along with neighbors, friends, and family members. Heroes are everywhere, and they deserve our appreciation.

Hoag Hospital outside

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Hoag Medical Group in downtown Laguna

Hoag Hospital has created a chain reaction of gratitude that will spread all over Orange County. You can join in by giving your pandemic hero a virtual shout-out, and then pay it forward by nominating more friends to do the same. Help keep the news positive and remind everyone that we are in this together…#OCTogether!

How to participate:

--Take a selfie video and give a shout-out to your hero in Orange County. Nominate three more friends/family members to participate.

 Script:

--“My hero is … [short description of who and why]…I nominate my friends _____, _____, and _____ to give a shout out to their Orange County heroes.”

--Upload your video on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

Instagram: @hoaghealth; Facebook: @hoagofficial; Twitter: @hoaghealth.

In your post copy, tag the three friends you nominated. Use #OCtogether. Tag @hoaghealth for a feature on their channels.

 --Like and follow the Hoag social channels to view featured videos from our #OCTogether everyday heroes.


Laguna Canyon Foundation celebrates OneOC Spirit of Volunteerism award-winners

By Paula Olson

We are grateful – especially in the difficult times we are in – to honor three of our volunteers through the OneOC Spirit of Volunteerism Awards: Fernando GenKuong, Miwa Kawai, and Christine McConnell.

Fernando GenKuong

If you hike or ride in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park on a weekday or weekend, you will likely see Fernando GenKuong riding on the trails and greeting park guests. 

He is a backcountry patrol regular who the rangers count on to update them with trail conditions – particularly single-track trails. Always the consummate ambassador, Fernando engages the public with a cheery smile and broad knowledge of the park, trails, flora and fauna.

When Laguna Canyon Foundation’s regular monthly mountain bike rides lost their longtime leaders, Fernando stepped in. An accomplished mountain biker, Fernando can easily lead either the Intro to Mountain Biking with safety tips and fundamentals or lead the Intermediate Mountain Bike Ride, setting a great example of biking protocol and etiquette. 

Fernando demonstrates patience as he answers participants’ questions about equipment, trail conditions, and negotiating rock gardens.

Laguna Canyon volunteer

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Submitted photo

LCF volunteer Miwa Kawai at work on the trails

As a regular backcountry patroller, averaging close to 200 days per year and riding more than 13 miles each ride, Fernando is well-known and loved among many of the park guests – both hikers and riders – and OC Parks Rangers rely on Fernando for the updates and texts he provides them.

Fernando’s kindness and knowledge simply adds to the beautiful outdoor experience Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park provides.

Miwa Kawai

Reliable, committed, motivated and problem solver; these are just a few of the adjectives OC Parks and Laguna Canyon Foundation staff use to describe Miwa Kawai. In addition to attending regularly scheduled public events, when support for special coverage or a new initiative is needed, we can always count on Miwa.

Miwa has stepped up on rain closures, user surveys on select trails, and new restoration sites. When pots and trash cans have gotten stuck in equipment and debris, Miwa is the one to figure out how to pry them loose.

Miwa serves as a trail stewardship lead. One morning, when she went to one staging area while the trail team went to another to meet the volunteers, she ran four miles to catch up to us and then began the heavy lifting of drain clearing and brush removal for the next three hours.

Miwa seeks out the quieter public volunteers and will personally work with them to ensure that they have a good experience.

She keeps up on her education by attending Invasive Plant Patrol talks and, while serving as a backcountry patroller, will alert rangers not only to trail issues – a fallen tree, human encampments, dogs on unauthorized trails – she will let the restoration team know the whereabouts of emerging invasive plants.

Laguna Canyon trails

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Submitted photo

LCF staff and volunteers keep the trails in excellent condition

Working full time as an accounting officer for a New York-based company, Miwa still finds time to volunteer most every week. A utility player with endless energy and kindness, Miwa truly embraces the spirit of volunteering and protecting the land that we love.

Christine McConnell

It was just days after Christine McConnell’s initial long-term volunteer orientation that the Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness fire broke out. Not one to shy away from assisting when needed, Christine volunteered dozens of hours to staff Burn Area Posts and engage with the public on why many trails were closed. 

A speech therapist by day, Christine has an easy and knowledgeable way with the general public and her support not only kept park users off the burned trails, but also provided hikers and bikers with reasons why the wilderness needed time to heal.

Volunteering on average 13 hours per month, Christine is a regular on the trails. Whether assisting in public events, cutting down artichoke thistle and tree tobacco, or doing regular trash pick-ups, Christine is a vital part of OC Parks and Laguna Canyon Foundation’s outreach to the general public.

She has helped with special events such as Coastal Clean Up, Thanksgiving Wobble Walk and Amazing Snakes and takes time with park visitors to share her love of the wilderness.

We are grateful to have Christine’s wonderful spirit of conservation and commitment to the native flora and fauna.

We miss all of our volunteers and cannot wait to get out on the trails again with you soon. Be well; be safe.


3,602 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 41 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 12, reflect that there have been 3,602 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 62 new cases reported today. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 41 cases to date, a net increase of one case today.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.755 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 41 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 3.498 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 132 reported cases to date, a net increase of two cases today. Irvine has had 143 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 545 reported cases to date, a net increase of five cases today. Santa Ana has had 570 reported cases to date, a net increase of 24 cases today.

The County reports 263 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 77 deaths due to COVID-19, including one death reported today. 230 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 100 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 54,769 people as of today, with a 6.6 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

3,602 reported cases 1

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3,602 reported cases 3

3,602 reported cases 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 12;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


3,557 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 40 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, May 11, reflect that there have been 3,557 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 55 new cases reported yesterday. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 40 cases to date.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.712 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 41 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 3.498 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 130 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 142 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 540 reported cases to date. Santa Ana has had 546 reported cases to date.

The County reports 263 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 76 deaths due to COVID-19. 196 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 77 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 52,982 people as of yesterday, with a 6.7 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

3,557 reported cases 1

3,557 reported cases 2

3,557 reported cases 3

3,557 reported cases 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 11;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Living with uncertainty

By Charlie Dickerson

Growing up in Laguna, I was constantly reminded that college was what came after high school. It started with the tutorial on how to work Naviance – an online college matching software – in middle school, and was soon followed by four years surrounded by other kids, teachers, and counselors asking me: where do you want to go to college? 

I tuned it all out pretty early on. Not because I was some divergent thinker that always sought to challenge the status quo; rather, I was overwhelmed: How am I supposed to know who I want to be and where I want to go in the future if I’m struggling to figure out who I am in the here and now? So, I did what felt natural. I took all the hard classes I wanted to take (and dropped the ones I didn’t), I challenged myself to explore a million extracurriculars, and I bounced around between a bunch of different friend groups – all to figure out who I was, what I was passionate about, and what it meant to be a good human being. 

Spoiler alert: I’ve still got no clue. 

Despite my negligence to plan my future out, I followed the pack and went through the motions of applying to college. On paper, I checked all of the boxes – not a single B, top 4 percent of my class, high SAT scores, varsity sports, president of an environmental club, you name it – so I figured I would end up with some solid options. When decisions came out, I was left with a handful of rejections and price tags that were unfathomably high. 

Living with group

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Tired GCY fellows after climbing a steep peak that overlooks the community I lived in: Sayausí

Understanding that those decisions were out of my control, I had to finally address the question, what’s next? A few days after speaking about the importance of community at my graduation (ironically unaware of what my next community would look like), I received an email congratulating me that I had been accepted to Global Citizen Year, a gap year immersion program. I had applied inspired by my older brother, Jack, who spent his gap year in Ecuador with GCY, but I never felt I had the guts to do the same. 

But when I got that email, I knew immediately that it was my calling. Out of everything I learned in high school, the most important lesson was that opportunity for growth lies at the heart of every challenge. With this terrifying, butterfly-inducing, seven-month challenge staring me right in the face, I only saw one choice. 

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my experience in Ecuador, I want to make my purpose in telling this story clear. While I do believe that Global Citizen Year is one of the best options out there for a gap year, I am not here to advertise on their behalf. Furthermore, I’m not here to show you a highlight reel of my experience. While I will get to the photos and stories of those highlights (independent travel time, Ecuadorian holidays, etc.), I want to start with the less glamorous challenges I faced. 

The low-hanging fruit there is the language barrier, and that started on day one. I was welcomed into the loving arms of some of the most humble and generous people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing – my host mom and dad, Lourdes and Rodrigo, a brother, Pablo (19), and two sisters, Monse (17) and Johanna (23). After not having spoken Spanish since my last class my junior year, I was not prepared to be thrown into full Spanish mode 24/7. Plus, actual Ecuadorian Spanish is a whole different language from the slow gringo Spanish I was used to speaking in class. 

Living with boobies

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Submitted photo

A mother Blue-footed Booby next to her baby on Isla de la Plata, an island off the coast of Puerto López that shares many of the wildlife that the Galápagos are home to

For the first couple of months, it felt like I had to ask my family to repeat literally every single word they said. Slowly but surely, though, I stopped asking ¿Mande? (What?), and started playful banter with my host siblings, teaching them card games, and interchanging intricate stories of our cultures. To learn that people thousands of miles from home have Spanish slang words for all of the same stuff as my friends, that they laugh at all the same types of memes, that they share so many of the quotidian struggles we all know, is something that made me feel at home. All of those similarities across the language barrier are beautifully juxtaposed with the differences that I found – be it the simple grammatical differences that pose new formulae for thought, or the poetic feelings, emotions, passions that don’t have English translations. 

Aside from the language barrier, one of the more blatant challenges I faced was “El Paro.” Last October, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno implemented the first part of his plan to secure a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund by ending a decades-long fuel subsidy. Within hours, the price of gasoline, which generally dictates cost of living, jumped 50 cents per gallon. Fueled by years of frustration over Moreno’s policies that many feel value the wealthy elite above all else, the indigenous and mestizo populations took to the streets. 

While a nation-wide war between the police and the people waged, we GCY fellows were stuck in our host communities with dwindling food supplies. Many of the media companies – run by some of the same elites benefitting from Moreno’s policies – painted the picture of a small uprising of radicals, while videos of extreme police brutality circulating the internet were ignored or deemed as fake. I took this as a grave but vital warning of what is possible when cries for equality are ignored, only exacerbated when the truth is silenced. Over the course of those two weeks, there were over 1,000 arrests, seven deaths, and 1,300 injuries. And firearms aren’t even legal in Ecuador. 

Living with river

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Submitted photo

A view of downtown Tena and the surrounding jungle just before a storm

The final challenge I’ll talk about is the homesickness that surged as time passed in Ecuador. My senior year, I had been living the busy, social life of a teen. If I wasn’t at school or cross country or track practice, I was out with friends. I knew I wasn’t giving my family the attention and love that they deserved, but I was stuck in a routine that was difficult to break. When I got to Ecuador, I realized how I had taken my family for granted, which I best explained in a blog post back in January, “I always thought that homesickness would kick in during the absence of positivity in my current situation; the moments where there isn’t a whole lot going for me. But that couldn’t be further from reality...It seems the more I enjoy myself...I miss my family more than ever. I don’t yet fully understand that paradox – maybe it’s that I want to be sharing these experiences with the people I care about most? Or that I’m eager to share the newest version of me with them?” Now that I have had some time to process, I think it’s a little bit of both. All the cool places I had ever been were always with my family, so something felt missing as I surged on without them. Furthermore, all of the growing and learning I underwent couldn’t be portrayed to them through FaceTime conversations. I wanted to show them who I had grown into, but I couldn’t yet. By using the homesickness as motivation to finish the journey I had started, it added a layer to my purpose in Ecuador: to come back a better person to my family. 

Living with clouds

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Clouds roll down the valley from the top of a 14,000-foot peak in Parque Nacional Cajas

By no means was overcoming different challenges the only part of my experience, though. Cuenca is a vibrant city with much of the downtown area being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and friends and I spent countless hours roaming the streets to find hidden food spots, climbing to the top of the central cathedral, and passing time by one of Cuenca’s four rivers. Also, my host family’s house sat on the edge of Parque Nacional Cajas, so weekends were often spent exploring what the humid, high elevation (13,000+ feet above sea level) landscape had to offer. 

In December and January, I used my independent travel time to check out other areas of the dynamic country. I spent the week surrounding New Year in Manta, a city along Ecuador’s coast. It was the perfect break from the cold weather up in the Andes where I lived and a pleasant reminder of what I would be so fortunate to come back home to. 

The morning after I returned, I hopped on a 13-hour bus ride up north to Tena, a small Amazonian city. There, I stayed with a group of 10 kids in a cabin on a river about 30 minutes outside of town. The owner of the cabin had grown up exploring the surrounding jungle, so he took us on a hike trudging through rivers, climbing up a slot canyon, and summiting a mountain, all before a torrential downpour forced us to slide our way down the back side of the peak – all with his two blind dogs walking by our side. Over the course of that week in the Amazon, it became a thousand times more real to me just how valuable the ecosystem is, and how we need to do everything in our power to keep the meat and fossil fuel industries (among others) from tearing it down. 

Living with dog

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Submitted photo

The start of a wild trek into the Amazon, led by a blind dog

Finally, I spent my final two nights of independent travel camping in Cajas with two of my buddies. We brought a fishing pole, expecting to feast upon trout for all six meals, but wound up rationing the three small cans of tuna and the Nutella tortilla sandwiches we brought. However, we did catch one small rainbow trout, so we prefer to tell people “we caught fish, but all were too small to eat.”

At the end of February, the whole country (and most of Latin America) springs to life to celebrate Carnaval. During this week-long party, it is impossible to leave the house without ending up drenched from a bucket of water, squirt guns, or canned foam. I got to see Sebastián Yatra play music live for tens of thousands of fans from all over the continent in a small Ecuadorian community named Paute, I dressed up as the “Cholo Cuencano” (the traditional outfit worn in the Cuenca area) to be in a parade through the city, and I got to spend it all with my host family and other fellows from the program. 

Unfortunately, my time in Ecuador got cut about three weeks short due to COVID-19 in mid-March. I’m still in the midst of processing it all, but I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I am happy I went to Ecuador. While I still haven’t answered the questions of who I am and what I want to do with my life, I’ve developed the skill to find comfort in the uncertainty and to live my life in pursuit of those ever-changing answers. For now, I look forward to my next chapter at Tufts University in the fall, feeling refreshed and energized to see where it takes me.


Violet sky

Violet sky moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

On May 7, the Full Flower Moon hung in a purple sky. The tradition of naming moons is rich in history and was used during Native American and Colonial times to help track the seasons – usually from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the same areas as the colonists. May’s Full Flower Moon name is not surprising. Flowers spring forth in abundance this month!


The watcher

The watcher tree

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“It is impossible for you to be only a watcher because there will be always something watching you – an insect or a person – and this makes you both a watcher and watched!” –Mehmet Murat ildan


Solitary surfing

Solitary surfing Kyle

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Kyle Shaw – back in the water on May 7 for a little slice of heaven

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