COVID-19: 779 new cases and 42 new deaths reported in OC 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,493 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 42 new deaths reported yesterday (February 11). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 779 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 240,999 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 13 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 51 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 965 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-44 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 298 are in ICU (-12 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 767 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 27 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 209,270 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 11, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,145 new cases and 51 new deaths reported in OC over last two days, 5 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,544 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 26 new deaths reported on February 13 and 25 new deaths reported on February 12. There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 517 new cases on February 13 and 628 new cases reported on February 12. There have been 242,144 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 12.5 percent. 56 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 839 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-126 since Thursday’s report – includes ICU); 270 are in ICU (-28 since Thursday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 772 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including five new cases reported over the last two days and 23 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 212,470 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 13, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 253 new cases and 38 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 38 new deaths reported yesterday (February 22). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 253 new cases yesterday. There have been 244,885 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.9 percent. 59 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 556 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-21 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 179 are in ICU (-11 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 10 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 224,933 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 22, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 250 new cases reported in OC

OC Health Care Agency reported 250 new cases of COVID-19 in Orange County today (February 23). There have been 245,135 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the county reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in OC. There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 18.9 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 539 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-17 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 152 are in ICU (-27 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including nine new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 226,386 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 23, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 325 new cases reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach

OC Health Care Agency reported 325 new cases of COVID-19 in Orange County today (February 24). There have been 245,460 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the county reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in OC. There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 16.9 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 515 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-24 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 151 are in ICU (-1 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 789 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported today and 12 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 227,622 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 24, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


1,969 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 25, reflect that there have been 1,969 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 124 new cases reported today. This marks the highest single-day increase for the County. There are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails last month, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

Los Alamitos has the second highest per capita rate in OC, with 15 reported cases, 1.280 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate in OC, with 93 reported cases, 1.067 cases per thousand residents.

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 265, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 124 cases.

Sadly, the County reports 38 deaths due to COVID-19. 159 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 70 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 23,285 people as of today.

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 April 25;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,376 new cases reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach 

OC Health Care Agency reported 1,376 new cases of COVID-19 today (January 5) in Orange County. There have been 171,955 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the county reports that 1,926 people have died due to COVID-19 in OC. There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 4.9 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 31 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,236 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+58 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 504 are in ICU (+4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 541 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported today and 48 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 100,658 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 5, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 3,077 new cases and 17 new deaths reported in OC, 6 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 1,943 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 17 new deaths reported today (January 6). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 3,077 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 175,032 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 6 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 32 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,249 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+13 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 485 are in ICU (-19 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 547 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including six new cases reported today and 44 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 103,960 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 6, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


LBUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

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Courtesy of LBUSD

For more information and to access the dashboard, visit www.lbusd.org/resources/covid19/covid-19-reporting

 


COVID-19: 252 new cases and 40 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,810 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 40 new deaths reported today (February 21). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 252 new cases today. There have been 244,632 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.7 percent. 59 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 577 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-14 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 190 are in ICU (-6 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 10 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 223,522 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 21, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


2,074 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 26, reflect that there have been 2,074 reported cases on COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 105 new cases reported today. This marks the second highest single-day increase for the County, while yesterday was the highest. There are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails last month, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

Los Alamitos has the second highest per capita rate in OC, with 16 reported cases, 1.365 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate in OC, with 43 reported cases, 1.078 cases per thousand residents.

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 285, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 127 cases. Dana Point, with a population of 34,249, has 22 cases.

Sadly, the County reports 39 deaths due to COVID-19. 148 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 55 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 25,552 people as of today.

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 April 26;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 3,221 new cases and 16 new deaths reported in OC, 10 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,195 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 16 new deaths reported yesterday (January 14). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 3,221 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 202,753 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 7.4 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 33 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,169 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-11 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 544 are in ICU (+0 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 619 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 10 new cases reported yesterday and 69 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 129,485 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 14, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 3,158 new cases and 82 new deaths reported in OC, 9 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,277 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 82 new deaths reported today (January 15). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 3,158 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 205,911 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 7.2 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 36 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,101 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-68 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 534 are in ICU (-10 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 628 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including nine new cases reported today and 69 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 132,950 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 15, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 3,454 new cases and 43 new deaths reported in OC, 10 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,320 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 43 new deaths reported today (January 16). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 3,454 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 209,365 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 7.8 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 37 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,065 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-36 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 542 are in ICU (+8 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 638 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 10 new cases reported today and 70 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 135,203 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 16, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 361 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,577 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported on Sunday (February 14). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 361 new cases on Sunday. There have been 242,505 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 11.3 percent. 56 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 790 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-49 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 257 are in ICU (-13 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 775 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported on Sunday and 13 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 213,158 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 14, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 658 new cases and 40 new deaths reported in OC over last two days, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,617 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 17 new deaths reported on February 15 and 23 new deaths reported on February 16. There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 289 new cases on February 15 and 369 new cases on February 16. There have been 243,163 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.3 percent. 56 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 748 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-42 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 235 are in ICU (-22 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 776 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported over the last two days and 11 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 217,220 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 16, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 166 new cases and 27 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,644 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 27 new deaths reported today (February 17). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 166 new cases today. There have been 243,329 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.4 percent. 57 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 719 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-29 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 235 are in ICU (+0 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 777 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and nine new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 218,943 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 17, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 324 new cases and 41 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,726 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 41 new deaths reported today (February 19). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 324 new cases today. There have been 243,989 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 14 percent. 59 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 636 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-27 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 215 are in ICU (-15 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 778 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 11 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 222,087 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 19, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 391 new cases and 44 new deaths reported in OC, 6 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,770 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 44 new deaths reported today (February 20). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 391 new cases today. There have been 244,380 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.1 percent. 63 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 591 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-45 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 196 are in ICU (-19 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 784 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including six new cases reported today and 12 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 222,990 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 20, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


2,151 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: Laguna Beach no longer has highest per capita rate in OC

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 28, reflect that there have been 2,126 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 34 new cases reported today. There are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 to date in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, previously had the highest per capita case rate in OC at 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 20 reported cases, now has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.706 cases per thousand residents.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails last month, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings. 

Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate in OC, with 96 reported cases, 1.101 cases per thousand residents.

Santa Ana is the city with the most cases at 313, with a population of 337,716. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 127 cases. Dana Point, with a population of 34,249, has 23 cases.

Sadly, the County reports 42 deaths due to COVID-19, including three today. 178 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 74 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 27,737 people as of today.

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 April 28;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 610 new cases and 1 new death reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 1,875 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including one new death reported yesterday (December 31). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 610 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, marking a seven-day total of 18,873 new cases and 157,183 cumulative cases to date.*

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.9 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.** 40 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,128 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-17 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 495 are in ICU (+16 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 505 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported yesterday and 45 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 89,228 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna. (There will not be any updates later yesterday, January 1, or on January 3 due to the New Year’s Day Holiday and scheduled maintenance with CDPH. Updates will be posted on January 2 reflecting data from January 1. Updates will resume as normal January 4.)

*Case counts from Thursday included data for 30 hours instead of the standard 24 hours. As a result, yesterday’s cases received are notably lower because of the new cases received were accounted for in yesterday’s count.

**Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of December 31, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 336 new cases and 41 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,685 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 41 new deaths reported yesterday (February 18). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 336 new cases yesterday. There have been 243,665 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 14.9 percent. 58 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 663 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-56 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 230 are in ICU (-5 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 777 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 10 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 220,609 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 18, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Tributes to Barbara Diamond

By DIANNE RUSSELL

A reflection of the special place Barbara Diamond had in the lives of so many residents, fond memories of her continue to pour in. All agree that she knew the pulse of Laguna like no other and reported with the utmost respect and consideration for all concerned. Barbara was the heart and soul of the community’s news, a gifted journalist, and a cherished friend. 

“Barbara knew everyone and the history of everything. She always worked to report the story in a balanced manner,” says City Manager John Pietig. “Her interview style was one of asking questions with the intent of gaining information and insight, not to try and capture a quote or statement to cast someone in a bad light. Nonetheless, she wrote the story as she saw it. 

“She was also at every significant town event, in the background, gathering information for her stories. Not to mention the hundreds of City Council meetings she attended while asking people to sign in so that their names could be accurately recorded for the record.

“In addition to her reporting skills, Barbara was a die-hard Angels fan and loved talking about them when she had time.

 “Barbara was unique, and I will miss her.”

Tributes to honoree luncheon

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara at 2019 Patriots Day Parade Honorees Luncheon

Joan Gladstone remembers their business relationship – old school all the way. ‘“Drop the press release off to my house on Diamond Street,’” said Barbara Diamond. And I did, that day and for the next four years, when I did PR for the developers of Montage Laguna Beach. Barbara was old school, and not just because she didn’t have an email address. She was old school in ways I deeply admired. She was absolutely devoted to getting the facts straight and writing a balanced story. She was a consummate journalist and role model.”

From Stephany Skenderian, a member of the Birthday Club: 

“Barbara had a great laugh, a terrific smile, a spirited style, and many, many talents. As a friend you felt the warmth and depth of this special lady and oh, the stories! Barbara lived and enjoyed a full life. She will be missed.”

Another member of the Birthday Club, Anne Johnson says, “Somewhere in the room with pen poised over notepad, she waited for a nuance of context or even better, for a pithy quote to nail her story. At all our major City events, usually wearing red, and always with a touch of San Francisco panache, she warned us that with pen poised, we could be quoted. But pen gone and smiling warmly, she welcomed some of us into her private world as friends, and those of us admitted honored and treasured that friendship and can’t believe she has left us forever. Wherever she is, I hope there is pen and paper! We shall miss you at all our gatherings – both public and private, Dear Barbara.”

Tributes to notebook

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On the job 

John Campbell remembers, “I always loved her personal license plate BFD, that was Barbara alright. Whenever she saw my wife Lu and I she would always come over to ask two questions, have you been to your place in Italy recently and how many miles did you bike today?

“My wife and I used to cycle quite a bit and since Lu and Barbara were the same age, she always marveled at how far Lu would ride her bike. Most of the time we would ride down Coast Hwy to Jamboree, take the Back Bay bike trail back to Laguna Canyon Road and back into Laguna, basically about 34 miles round trip. Well, one day Lu & I, to celebrate her 78th birthday, she wanted to ride 78 miles. So from our office on Forest Ave, we rode to the Santa Ana River trail, up that trail, past Anaheim stadium, past the Kaiser Hospital almost to Prado dam turning around at mile 39. By then we had a head wind riding back down the Santa Ana River trail, so Lu got behind me which was like riding behind a billboard for her and we made it to Huntington Beach to rest for a little bit, but then we were back on our bikes and we finally made it back to Laguna Beach. Well, when we told Barbara the story, you would have thought we just went to the moon and back. Remember, they were the same age. Barbara just shook her head in disbelief and congratulated Lu for her accomplishment.” 

Itributes to parade

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Grand Marshal Barbara at the 2020 Patriots Day Parade 

 “It’s like the lights went out when I heard that Barbara has passed,” says Mary Fegraus, a Laguna Beach resident since 1973. “We have lost another Laguna Treasure, one that knew our community inside and out. Barbara is our historian, one who took the time to get the story right. Always factual, but written with thoughtfulness and insight into the article subject. Barbara cared about our community and knew how to put that into words. I will always cherish the chats we had over the decades, whether it was a Planning Commission issues in the 1980s, preservation of the open space in the 1990s and onward to today, Barbara knew how to ask the question. Barbara wasn’t just about stories, she cared about you and your life. We have lost an icon, one that will be dearly missed by our community.”

To submit your remembrances of Barbara for publication, email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For those wishing to donate to Barbara’s LBHS Scholarship Fund, please send donations to: LBHSSF, P.O. Box 1569, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Please include “Barbara Diamond Excellence in Journalism Award,” to be placed on the memo line or written separately and included in the envelope. All donations are tax-deductible; LBHSSF is a 501(c)(3).


2,252 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: One new reported case in Laguna Beach today

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 29, reflect that there have been 2,252 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 108 new cases reported today. There are 37 reported cases of COVID-19 to date in Laguna Beach, including one new reported case today.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.584 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 22 reported cases, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.877 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate in OC, with 97 reported cases, 1.113 cases per thousand residents.

Santa Ana is the city with the most cases at 330, with a population of 337,716. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 126 cases. Dana Point, with a population of 34,249, has 23 cases.

Sadly, the County reports 44 deaths due to COVID-19, including two deaths today. 175 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 70 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 29,940 people as of today.

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 April 29;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 2,144 new cases reported in OC, 5 new cases in Laguna Beach

OC Health Care Agency reported 2,144 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday (December 28), marking a seven-day surge of 21,426 new cases and 149,607 cumulative cases to date. 

Sadly, the county reports that 1,846 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County. There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.9 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 43 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,031 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+41 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 453 are in ICU (+10 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 483 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including five new cases reported yesterday and 49 new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

Anaheim experienced an increase of 416 new cases yesterday; Santa Ana experienced an increase of 373 new cases yesterday.

The county estimates 82,710 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna. 

*From OC Health Care Agency: Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of December 28, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,448 new cases and 47 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,367 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 47 new deaths reported on Sunday (January 17). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,448 new cases of COVID-19 in OC on Sunday. There have been 210,813 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.5 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 36 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,026 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-39 since Saturday’s report – includes ICU); 538 are in ICU (-4 since Saturday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 642 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported on Sunday and 69 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 136,506 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 17, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 3,995 new cases and 110 new deaths reported in OC over last two days, 18 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,477 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 110 new deaths reported over the last two days. 46 new deaths were reported on January 18 and 64 new deaths were reported on January 19. There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 3,995 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today, which represents a two-day total. 1,681 new cases were reported on January 18 and 2,314 new cases were reported on January 19. There have been 214,808 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.5 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 34 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,007 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-19 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 523 are in ICU (-15 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 660 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 18 new cases reported today, which represents a two-day total, and 61 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 143,618 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 19, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,701 new cases and 31 new deaths reported in OC, 6 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,508 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 31 new deaths reported today (January 20). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,701 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 216,509 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.4 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 34 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,975 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-32 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 527 are in ICU (+4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 666 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including six new cases reported today and 57 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 147,280 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 20, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,276 new cases and 29 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,868 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 29 new deaths reported yesterday (January 28). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,276 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 228,297 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 8.5 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 41 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,592 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-47 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 439 are in ICU (-9 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 712 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported yesterday and 42 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 170,229 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 28, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,460 new cases and 107 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,975 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 107 new deaths reported today (January 29). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,460 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 229,757 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 10.1 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 43 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,521 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-71 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 426 are in ICU (-13 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 716 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported today and 41 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 171,134 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 29, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,279 new cases and 43 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,018 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 43 new deaths reported today (January 30). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,279 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 231,036 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.9 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 47 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,442 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-79 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 394 are in ICU (-32 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 720 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported today and 30 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 173,862 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 30, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,355 new cases and 44 new deaths reported in OC, 8 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,062 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 44 new deaths reported today (January 31). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,355 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 232,391 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.8 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 48 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,412 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-30 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 392 are in ICU (-2 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 728 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including eight new cases reported today and 31 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 175,513 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 31, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 942 new cases and 25 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,383 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 25 new deaths reported yesterday (February 8). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 942 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 239,206 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.6 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 51 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,046 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-47 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 331 are in ICU (-4 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported yesterday and 35 new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 201,372 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 8, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Remembering Barbara Diamond

By DIANNE RUSSELL

All who knew Barbara Diamond are still reeling from the news of her passing. Today – and in Friday’s edition – friends and colleagues offer their thoughts and memories in loving tribute. 

“I have so many memories of Barbara, all good,” says Kelly Boyd, former Laguna Beach Mayor. “I enjoyed getting her phone calls, not always about council business. They would start with ‘on the record’ or ‘off the record.’ We would have some very interesting conversations.

“Knowing I would be leaving the council soon, at one of my last meetings as Mayor, I made sure to recognize and honor Barbara with a proclamation at a council meeting. She was not happy with me for putting her in the spotlight, but still she said, ‘I love you.’ Coming from Barbara, that was a real compliment. I loved her also.

“I will miss you to the moon, as will all that knew you. RIP.”

Remembering Barbara Kelly Boyd

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On July 24, 2018, (then) Mayor Kelly Boyd honored Barbara with a Proclamation: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Kelly Boyd, Mayor of the City of Laguna Beach, California, do hereby proclaim that Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) is a highly-respected, trusted and talented Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist.

Barbara was cherished and respected by her colleagues at Stu News and all her friends, old and new.

Former Stu News Editor Lynette Brasfield says, “I will miss Barbara. She was an excellent journalist and an extraordinary woman. When I became editor after Stu died, she was extremely supportive, welcoming me into the fold and introducing me to her friends, many of whom are Laguna’s movers and shakers. Knowing I didn’t enjoy small talk, she told me sternly that I needed to network, though, she said, she had worked with enough editors to know that wasn’t their favorite thing. I was in awe of her journalistic skills, her kindness, her sense of humor, and her willingness to attend nearly every Council meeting and nearly every nonprofit gala. Talk about stamina! I don’t think I ever saw her without a notebook in her hand.”

Laura Buckle, former colleague of Barbara’s, says, “Like many people in Laguna, my knowledge of Barbara started by reading Stu News. I had no idea of who she was or where she lived, but I always thought that her writing was so detailed and also very non-biased in an arena where it is so hard to hold back at times.

“When I started writing for Stu News in 2015, I was invited to a birthday ‘mixer’ and that was the first time I met Barbara Diamond. She was strong, witty, quick, vibrant, beautifully dressed, and told me that she had recently visited Watermarc for brunch off the basis of my review (I took that as a huge compliment). We talked about England, she loved it so much, about her past, how she had always been a journalist, her journey to Laguna Beach, our children (and her case grandchildren), and about the death of her beloved son. I came away even more in awe of this huge personality. 

“During our conversation, she told me lived on Diamond Street and once a month or so I would knock on her red door and say, ‘hi,’ and she was always so gracious and loved a cup of tea!

“Once, due to her ill health, I covered for her during an election night at the Playhouse. It was one of the most challenging writing roles I’ve ever had – using recording, dictation, and shorthand – to document the council members battling. She sent me a note a couple of weeks later saying I did a great job. I don’t know how she managed it every week. 

“I hadn’t seen her in a while. I moved out of Woods Cove and COVID-19 kept me away. I’m sad, and I wish I’d listened to one more story. Luckily, we have pages and pages of her words to remind us of the wonderful woman she was.

“My thoughts are with your family, ‘Barbara Diamond of Diamond Street.’ I will miss you lots xo.” 

Remembering Barbara glasses

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara at State of the City meeting on May 6, 2019

“Barbara Diamond painted with words,” says Denny Freidenrich. “Early Laguna artists like Anna Hills, William Wendt, and Edgar Payne painted gorgeous landscapes. Reporter Barbara Diamond, who suddenly passed away last week, ‘painted’ pictures of today’s Laguna with her words. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you wanted to know what was happening in town, you had to read Barbara’s posts. She clearly understood that a picture was worth a thousand words, maybe more. Write on, Barbara. You will be missed.” 

Former Mayor Elizabeth Pearson recalls memories of a special club. “The Birthday Club originated on Barbara’s birthday, November 2nd. I had a party for her with the people on the list below in attendance and we all had such a good time, we decided to make it a ‘club’ where we all celebrated together. 

“We would take turns hosting a dinner, cocktail, or dinners to celebrate the
birthdays – so we could all come together again. 

Remembering Barbara with Elizabeth

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Submitted photo

Barbara and Elizabeth Pearson 

“We traveled to Carol Reynolds’ family home in Cape May, which gave us the picture (below). We also got together and rented a limo to go to the horse races in Del Mar and Santa Anita and would drink champagne in the limo. 

“Barbara once thanked me for creating the Birthday Club, which started with
her, because she hadn’t really become close to too many people in Laguna –
and that this gave her a group of friends that she cherished. 

January party – January 1, Elizabeth Pearson; January 13, Martha Anderson 

March party – March 16, Kristine Thalman; March 20, Stephany Skenderian

April 7 – Carol Reynolds 

May 11 – Peggy Ford 

June party – June 1, Martha Lydick; June 8, Anne Johnson

July 22 – Kathleen Blackburn 

August 31 – Renae Hinchey 

November party – always at Elizabeth’s

November 2 – Barbara Diamond 

December party – Lunch, always at Barbara’s

December 1 –  Cheryl Kinsman

Remembering Barbara birthday club

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Submitted photo

The Birthday Club on vacation a Carol Reynolds’ family home in Cape May, New Jersey

Johanna Felder says, “Laguna will miss Barbara Diamond. I knew Barbara for over 30 years and always admired her devotion to reporting the local news. She would sit through those city meetings hour after hour and week after week. She was a journalist in the real sense of the word. I always knew she would not only accurately quote me but would also be fair in her reporting. No one will be able to fill those high heel shoes.”

“I am shocked and saddened to hear the news of Barbra Diamond’s passing. I am in tears. I will never forget Barbara and how incredibly welcoming she was to me when I started in my position nearly 25 years ago,” says Sharbie Higuchi, Director of Marketing/PR at the Festival of Arts. “At that time, she worked for the Laguna News-Post and her office was in the ‘pink’ building. I remember her office filled with stacks of papers as she offered her advice and knowledge about Laguna to me with a comforting smile. Always smartly dressed and a pad of paper in hand. I will sorely miss her…a true pillar for the news community and Laguna Beach.” 

From Charles Michael Murray, “Barbara is and will always be a pillar of the community breeze of Integrity, Past, Present & Future. Her view, words, voice, and smile will prevail with the coastal winds that will continue to embrace our Laguna Beach. Thank you, Barbara.”

To submit your remembrances of Barbara for publication, email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For those wishing to donate to Barbara’s LBHS Scholarship Fund, please send donations to: LBHSSF, P.O. Box 1569, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Please include “Barbara Diamond Excellence in Journalism Award,” to be placed on the memo line or written separately and included in the envelope. All donations are tax-deductible; LBHSSF is a 501 (c)(3).


COVID-19 Update: Governor closes OC beaches

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Two days after Laguna Beach officials approved a cautious reopening of city beaches, Governor Newsom ordered all Orange County beaches closed.

Newsom announced his decision at a press conference on Thursday. He said media coverage of the hordes that swarmed the county beaches over the past weekend and ignored health experts’ advice to stay at home or at least maintain social distance recommendations prompted his decision. 

“The city beaches in Laguna Beach are already closed and scheduled to be closed until May 4,” City Manager John Pietig stated in a release issued Thursday after Newsom’s press conference. “Based on the governor’s order today, I expect the county beaches in the southern part of the city will also be closed this weekend. 

“Laguna Beach will send its plan, which was approved by the City Council on Tuesday, to reopen the beaches on weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. for active use only and in compliance with social distancing mandates, to the governor’s office for approval. The city will not reopen beaches until its plan is approved by the governors’ office.” 

COVID 19 update fences

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City’s limited reopening of beaches on May 4 must be approved by Governor Newsom

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner on Wednesday said the governor had the authority to close the beaches, but it was “not a wise idea.” 

Governor Newsom did not include other counties in his order.

“It should be acknowledged, San Diego and L.A. and others have done an outstanding job, and we want to just focus on where there’s a problem,” Newsom said on Thursday.

The city of San Diego reopened its beaches Monday to active users ranging from swimmers to walkers, while Los Angeles beaches remain closed.

South Laguna residents reported a calamitous situation over the weekend in their neighborhoods as well as on the county-owned beaches in their area, despite attempts to limit beachgoers by closing the parking lots. 

Newport beaches were also in heavy use over the weekend, but the City Council decided on Tuesday to keep the beaches open, a decision negated by the governor’s order.

Laguna Beach residents weighed in on the city’s plan for a limited reopening of the beaches, pro and con. 

“Old people should stay home – they are vulnerable,” said Mark Dunning by phone to Laguna’s City Council. “Those who are not vulnerable should be let out.”

A North Laguna woman asked that Crescent Bay residents be allowed to go to their beach. She supported opening other beaches until noon for active use.

COVID 19 update south laguna

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

 South Laguna last weekend

However, South Laguna resident Diane Armitage said she was frightened last weekend by the crowds. 

“Kids were coming in from everywhere,” said Armitage. “They were cocky and drinking openly in cars – swearing and gunning up and down the street. It felt like a war zone.” 

Another woman suggested the problem in South Laguna was exacerbated by the closure of the rest of Laguna’s beaches. 

There were also questions raised about the city control over South Laguna beaches – which is to say none. When asked by Mayor Bob Whalen to close county beaches within Laguna’s city limits, the vote was 4-1, with only Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett siding with the city.

In other actions affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, the council voted to hold a proposed increase in sewer user fees to 5 percent in fiscal year 2020-21, rather than the 10 percent previously approved. The vote was unanimous, but Councilman Peter Blake said during council comments on the item that as a small downtown business owner, he would be willing to pay the 10 percent increase. 

The council also voted 5-0 to direct staff to work with local nonprofits to investigate and implement Restaurant Delivery: Home Meals for Seniors, a new state program to provide meals to eligible seniors during the COVID-19 “Stay-At-Home” order as soon as possible. The council appropriated $5,000 from the General Fund Reserve to cover the portion of the costs not covered by state or federal funds.


COVID-19: 2,452 new cases and 1 new death reported in OC, 10 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 1,847 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including one new death reported today (December 29). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 2,452 new cases of COVID-19 today, marking a seven-day surge of 21,645 new cases and 152,059 cumulative cases to date. 

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 8.9 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 42 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 2,106 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+75 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 473 are in ICU (+20 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 10 new cases reported today and 56 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

Anaheim experienced an increase of 390 new cases today; Santa Ana experienced an increase of 201 new cases today.

The county estimates 84,716 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna. 

*From OC Health Care Agency: Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of December 29, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,330 new cases and 66 new deaths reported in OC, 8 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,704 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 66 new deaths reported yesterday (January 25). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 224,618 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.2 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 38 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,703 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-29 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 447 are in ICU (-20 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 705 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including eight new cases reported yesterday and563 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 158,291 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 25, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,365 new cases and 64 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,768 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 64 new deaths reported today (January 26). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,365 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 225,983 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 10.2 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 38 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,677 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-26 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 437 are in ICU (-10 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 706 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 46 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 163,200 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 26, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Barbara’s Column

Crazy about art 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

LOCA raised $11,000 in the local art organization’s first-ever online auction held last weekend.

“For the Love of Art” was the suggestion of LOCA board member Vinita Voogd (pronounced Vogue like the magazine), based on the successful Laguna Plein Air Painters Association online auction, under the direction of her good friend Rosemary Swimm

“When our annual Birthday Bash was canceled because of COVID-19, I told our board that I would be happy to organize an auction,” said Voogd.

The Birthday Bash raises the most money for LOCA, other than grants, and funds the art education programs provided by the group.

“I said the online auction would get our name out there and let LOCA members know we are still here, and we’ll see how it goes,” said Voogd. 

It went so well she will recommend the online auction become an annual event, along with post-COVID Birthday Bash. 

Crazy about red mask

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Rich Fair and Vinita Voogd getting ready for auction

“We had 62 pieces of art in the auction donated by more than 50 artists –some of them donated more than one piece,” said Voogd. 

Auction items included original paintings, one-of-a-kind textiles, jewelry, ceramics, and photography.

The highest valued art was donated by Sandra Jones Campbell, and it brought the highest bid: $1,300.

“A woman bought it as a Valentine’s gift for her husband,” said Voogd.

Voogd was assisted on the auction committee by LOCA board members Cindy Fletcher, Valerie Gorrell, Birthday Bash Chair Linda Velasco, and Rich Fair, also contributors of artwork for the auction.

Fair said he was put in charge of implementing Voogd’s concept. He named the event, created the logo, and built the website, with the assistance of his son, Caine

The auction was announced on Instagram and Facebook and received more than 50,000 impressions, Fair said. 

Crazy about Sandra

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Photo by Mike Tauber

LOCA auction: Kate Cohen, LOCA instructor, on left and Sandra Jones Campbell

Proceeds will be divided equally between the artists and LOCA, to be used to fund its goals.

LOCA has been raising money for almost 30 years to pair artists with art students and art lovers.

Mada Leach and the late Anne England founded Laguna Outreach of Community Artists in 1992 in response to cuts in art education in local schools.

(The unwieldy name, eventually dropped, was selected for the acronym LOCA – which translates from Mexican Spanish as crazy, which pretty much defines the group’s feeling about art.) 

England, who died in 2018, and Leach wanted to ensure quality arts education programs in Laguna Beach Schools and fair compensation for participating artists for their time and expertise.

Crazy about Obermeyer

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Photo by Mike Tauber

“Divers Cove” by Michael Obermeyer 

Leach is a member of the LOCA Emeritus Board, along with Betty Haight, Pat Whiteside-Phillips, and Kathy Jones

An honorary member of the board, Leach also serves on the staff as Education Coordinator. Sherry Bullard has the same titles. K.C. Mechling manages the office and Mike Tauber is in charge of marketing. 

Bullard, Leach, and Tauber all had pieces in the auction. 

Carla Meberg is president of the LOCA Board of Directors, which includes Vice President Voogd, Treasurer Nancy Milby, Secretary Velasco, and Members-at-Large Donna Ballard, Fletcher, Gorrell, Sue Linder, Lisa Mansour, Pat O’Brien, Kristen Samuelian, Joy Vansell, and Kirsten Whalen, several of them contributors of art for the auction. 

Contributing artists also included Michael Obermeyer, Tom Lamb, Hedy Buzan, and Liz McGhee.

LOCA has thrived and Laguna residents – from school children to seniors – have benefitted, according to the group’s website. 

Crazy about Kate

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Submitted photo

LOCA auction – earrings by Kate Cohen, LOCA instructor

Pre-COVID workshops were provided by LOCA members at Laguna Beach schools, Glennwood House for developmentally disabled adults, Laguna Beach Public Library, TLC, Boys & Girls Club, Laguna Beach Youth Shelter, the Susi Q, and the public. 

Some programs are now being conducted on Zoom, but LOCA looks forward to the resumption of in-person programs post-pandemic. 

Besides the Birthday Bash and now the online auction, LOCA is funded by grants from the Festival of Arts, Ebell Club, Laguna Beach Rotary, local bed taxes, and the city. 

Crazy about Rich and Vinita

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Rich Fair and Vinita Voogd 

Arts supporter Bobbi Cox and Golden Oaks are major donors. 

LOCA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Donations or new members are welcomed. 

For more information, contact www.LOCAarts.org, write P.O. Box 430, Laguna Beach, CA 92652, or call (949) 363-4700.

Sad news, happy memories

Ron Rodecker, whose televised dragons taught children to cope with new experiences and charmed them in paintings, died January 26.

The castle he built at the Sawdust Festival to showcase his art was enormously popular with children.

“Children swarmed his booth because they knew he was the creator of Dragon Tales,” said Eleanor Henry, a festival exhibitor for 35 years. 

Dragon Tales was an animated television series featuring dragons created by Ron and aimed at children from ages three to six. The show aired from 1999 to 2010, including reruns. 

The show told the adventures of siblings Emmy and Max, their amigo Enrique, and their dragon friends Ord, Cassie, Zak, Wheezie, and Quetzal.

Happy memories. 

I still have on the bulletin board in my home office a sketch done by Ron of Cassie, signed Love, Ron and Cassie. 

It is the last of series of sketches Ron made whenever he came into my News Post office across Laguna Canyon Road from the Sawdust Festival.

My eldest granddaughter, Julie, has a sketch that Ron did of her and her friend sailing through the sky on the back of a dragon, made during a visit to his festival castle.

Ron also painted the late Hal Werthe and sent it to his widow, Sandi. 

“He was one of a kind,” said Laguna Beach County Water District Commissioner and sculptor Marv Johnson. “He survived heart attacks, and nothing slowed him down. He adjusted to change when he had to.”

Dragon Tales focused on teaching youngsters to meet new situations with confidence, inspired by Ron’s own confrontation with life-threatening heart disease, he stated in the biography in program of the 2002 Patriots’ Day Parade, of which he was Grand Marshal. 

Ron was born in Long Beach in 1930. He graduated from UCLA with degrees in art and English and began his career in teaching. 

He taught in all three Laguna Beach Elementary Schools, starting in 1967, when Aliso Elementary School was still open in South Laguna. 

Ron switched from teaching to counseling in 1978 and rediscovered his love of art. 

He began to exhibit in the Festival of Arts, but later moved to the Sawdust Festival.

Ron and his wife, Katherine, who survives him, moved to Northern California 16 years ago. 

The world was a happier place with Ron Rodecker in it.

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Submit to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


COVID-19: 560 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,416 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported today (February 9). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 560 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 239,766 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 10.2 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 51 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,058 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+12 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 324 are in ICU (-7 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, with no new cases reported today and 28 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 204,392 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 9, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 454 new cases and 35 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,451 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 35 new deaths reported yesterday (February 10). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 454 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 240,220 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 12.1 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 52 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,009 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-49 since Tuesday’s report – includes ICU); 310 are in ICU (-14 since Tuesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 768 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported yesterday and 30 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 206,950 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 10, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


The Best of Laguna Beach Banner2

Best margaritas in Laguna Beach, 2021

By Diane Armitage 

National Margarita Day is Monday, Feb 22, and as far as I’m concerned, this is the love holiday we really need to be paying attention to this month. So, it’s time to roll out (once again) Diane’s updated Annual “Best Margaritas of Laguna Beach.”

Here’s how my search for the best margaritas in Laguna Beach began…

For nine years now, I’ve been polling my readers and faithfully donating my gall bladder to science in an effort to taste test their votes. One caveat: If I’ve missed your favorite margarita, I’m sorry. Please don’t hurl names at me when you see me in the Laguna Beach hood. I’ve discovered that margaritas are quite susceptible to individual taste. 

I’ve confirmed that all of these margaritas are also available for takeout and delivery.         

Reigning champion: The Lagniappe Margarita, Starfish 

Sorry, folks. but it’s going to take a Herculean effort to displace this reigning champion.

Best margaritas Lagniappe

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Courtesy of Starfish Laguna

Starfish – The Lagniappe Margarita

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool fan of bartender Neil Skewe; his Starfish Lagniappe Margarita could be the primary reason. “Lagniappe” is defined as a bonus or extra gift and, though few can properly pronounce it, Neil knows what you mean when you say, “That Lanny-yappy drink, please.” And, oh my, it is indeed a lovely gift. 

This margarita drinks more like a mojito with Silver Tequila poured over a fresh muddle of mandarin orange, fresh mint, lime, and a splash of soda, then shaken for that love connection. It is sheer awesomeness. 

Fortunately, the Lagniappe is also served in super-size for takeout.

Best margaritas Starfish to go

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Courtesy of Starfish Laguna

Starfish super-size Lagniappe Margarita to go

#2 South of Nick’s: Punta Nizuc 

While I’m an ardent Paloma fan (tequila with fresh grapefruit juice), I always opt for the South of Nick’s margarita – Punta Nizuc – one of many in a long line of Margarita Specialties the menu boasts. 

Simply done, it’s reposado tequila, fresh lime, organic agave nectar, and Grand Marnier. Sort of a “skinny” margarita if you don’t consider that float of Grand Marnier, which makes it even better. Topped with a candied orange slice and a chirpy mint sprig, this margarita arrived perfectly balanced with just enough (but not too much) ice.

Best margaritas South of Nick's

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Photo by Diane Armitage

South of Nick’s Punta Nizuc

#3 Carmelita’s: The Partida Margarita 

All of the margaritas at Carmelita’s are basically “skinny” as Carmelita’s only uses agave and fresh juices. While the Carmelita’s Grilled Pineapple Margarita is a crowd favorite, I would recommend the Partida Cucumber Marg with Partida blanco premium tequila, organic lime juice, fresh agave, and muddled cucumbers with cilantro. It’s so spectacularly simple, refreshing, and sublime that I’ve had difficulty choosing any other on the Carmelita’s list.

Best margarita Carmelita's

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Carmelita’s Partida Cucumber Margarita

#4 La Sirena Grill South: The Cadillac Margarita 

Although every margarita at La Sirena is above par, when the real shutdown happened last year, the team decided to focus only on its house margarita as a takeout option. This was a bummer for me as there’s absolutely no one in town who can make a “caddy” like La Sirena’s SoLag location. 

Fortunately, our MIA beverage is making a resurgence now with outdoor dining back in play. 

Their lofty Cadillac is one smooth ride. More importantly, it’s always very consistent, regardless of the bartender behind the counter (though it always seemed to taste better at the bar than at one of the booths or outside tables. I don’t know why).

It’s a mix of El Jimador Reposado, house-made sweet and sour, agave, lime juice, a splash of water (because everyone needs their hydration), and a float of Grand Marnier.

Best margarita L Sirena

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Photo by Diane Armitage

La Sirena Grill – Cadillac Margarita

#5 Coyote Grill: Coyote House Marg 

This is Coyote’s “house” margarita, but everyone knows that when you’re in this house, you’re getting a margarita that’s reserved for family. 

The Coyote Marg (featured in the happy hour menu daily) is the classic margarita – simply, well tequila, house-made sweet ‘n sour, and Triple Sec – but when you have Stephen or Mark making and shaking, it brings the house down…even if that house is currently in their Astro Turf parking lot.

Best margaritas in glass Coyote Grill

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Coyote Grill House Margarita 

When Coyote Grill reopened for takeout last spring, Owners Desirée and Steve decided to bottle up their house-made sweet ‘n sour for your own DIY margaritas. It stays fresh and spritely for at least a couple weeks in your refrigerator and is an awesome answer to whisking up a classic solution in the confines of your own home.

Best margarita Coyote Grill

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Coyote Grill Sweet ‘n Sour Margarita to go

Posthumous Award: Lumberyard’s Signature Margarita 

This margarita has been off the Lumberyard menu for more than five years and I still dream about it. If you know to ask for it with cajoling eyes, you might just find yourself in luck.

Best margaritas Lumberyard

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Lumberyard Signature Margarita 

It had to have been a Mercury in Retrograde kind of day when this delightful concoction, the Lumberyard Signature Margarita, was removed from the cocktail list. This was one margarita that defied every planet and star in the galaxy. A super skinny smooth blend of Milagro Blanco, Cointreau, and lime juice, it was shaken vigorously and poured up (with the tiniest slivers of ice) into a salt-rimmed frosty martini glass. Crowned with a lime twist, too. Simply put, this margarita added true joy to an otherwise average day. This might be a petition we can all get behind. 

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at https://thebestoflagunabeach.com/ and follow on Instagram @BestofLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).


Security guard, cameras planned for hospital after carjacking, long-term analysis in the works

By SARA HALL

Following a carjacking and assault last year at the local hospital, new cameras and a security guard are being added to help improve safety measures, officials reported this week.

Staff from Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach presented planned security enhancements during the City Council meeting on Tuesday (March 23). Mission Hospital Chief Operating Officer Terry Wooten announced that plans in the west building include four additional cameras (located in the parking lot, first floor interior lobby, fourth floor parking lot, and fourth floor lobby) and a security guard during the week (from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) instead of the current parking attendant. The carjacking occurred in the lower-level parking lot.

For the east building, two additional cameras are planned (located in the exterior back table area and first floor interior lobby). 

The cameras are not monitored live, and the footage is retained for 90 days. Most of the council and public discussion revolved around the check-out process for patients in the hospital’s chemical dependency center, a voluntary rehabilitation program.

“All I’ve heard tonight is, pretty much, some PR spin about how we’re going to treat the symptom, but we haven’t talked about the disease,” said Councilmember Peter Blake.

Over the last few years, the hospital has turned into a ward for people who experience overdoses or psychotic breaks, Blake said. There have been a number of police incidences over the years. There are violent and drug-addicted people, he added.

“We pretty much have a serious problem over there,” Blake said. “I’ve yet to see one thing come out that would make me feel better about this situation.” Several council members noted that this was the first step in longer, more-involved process.

There are a few different issues that need to be addressed, the first of which are the short-term security concerns on the campus, Mayor Bob Whalen said. Whalen and Blake met with hospital staff a few weeks ago.

“We did agree…that a longer-term analysis needs to be done with respect to discharge plans,” Whalen said on Tuesday. “I don’t expect the hospital to have answers to that tonight.”

Even with a discharge plan, the hospital doesn’t have the legal right to hold a patient.

“It’s not a simple solution,” Whalen said. “That’s not to say we shouldn’t work on the problem, we need to work on it, and we need to see if we can improve the situation.”

The dialogue about the discharge plan will continue in order to ensure that the community is safe, he said.

“If there’s more that needs to be done, we’ll ask that it be done,” Whalen said.

Councilmember Toni Iseman asked to see a study on how Mission’s discharge process compares to other Southern California hospitals. She also suggested locked units, which would be safer for the patients and others at the hospital.

The facility is not locked, and they can’t hold anyone, but there is a sign-out process, Wooten confirmed.

Security guard Mission Hospital

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach is adding new cameras and a security guard to increase safety measures

The intention is to continue the rehabilitation services, which have been offered long before Mission acquired the campus, Wooten said. The hospital, formerly known as South Coast Medical Center, started offering the services in the 1970s. When Mission acquired South Coast from owner Adventist Health in 2009, the California Attorney General mandated a condition of the purchase that those services not be reduced or eliminated. They have maintained that same number of licensed beds and have not expanded the program since taking over, Wooten confirmed.

The security changes come after former Laguna Beach resident Judie Dike was carjacked in October. A woman, who claimed to have a knife and a gun, accosted her as she was getting into her vehicle. The woman grabbed Dike’s purse and sped off, knocking Dike to the ground in the process. It took about 20 minutes for the guard to show up, who then had to check with a supervisor before calling 911, Dike previously explained. 

Once police got the call, they “immediately jumped into action,” LBPD Operations Captain Jeff Calvert said on Tuesday. In less than two hours, police pinged Dike’s phone, tracked the suspect to San Diego, and made an arrest.

“We empathize with Ms. Dike and can’t imagine how terrifying that incident was for her,” Calvert said. “This type of violent crime has previously never occurred at the hospital and, frankly, it’s an anomaly in our town.”

Police have worked closely with the hospital leadership team over the past few years, Calvert said. This ongoing relationship also aims to mitigate the number of times LBPD is called out to the hospital, which has been reduced by nearly 40 percent since 2018, he said.

“There’s still room for improvement,” Calvert said. 

After the assault, Dike asked hospital administrators about increasing security measures. Considering the patient population and the services offered at the hospital, Dike questioned whether or not the hospital had adequate security measures. The immediate response was yes, Wooten said. 

After some more internal review, staff asked the hospital’s parent organization, Providence Health, to conduct a security comparison with 18 other medical office properties in Southern California.

“As we looked at that assessment, we realized that we were falling somewhere in the middle of what our sister hospitals are doing,” Wooten said. “We really came together and said, ‘Ok, we have room for an opportunity here to make some improvements.’”

In addition to the cameras and guard, LBPD will put together a CPTED report (crime prevention through environmental design), which considers architectural and natural components. It should be ready to share within the next few weeks. 

CPTED is a philosophy with the goal to prevent crime by designing a physical environment that positively influences human behavior, Calvert explained. It could be as simple as adding cameras or trimming trees for better visibility.

This is a baby step for much needed reform at the hospital, Dike said during public comment on Tuesday. She was shocked to learn that the hospital describes the existing security as adequate.

“What is severely lacking is the safety and respect for the people of this community,” Dike said. 

Some of the released patients are “frightening” for the neighbors, she said. Even hospital staff members have reached out to her, telling her they’re scared to walk to their vehicles. With no guard or cameras, it’s a dangerous situation, Dike said.

“My attack was an accident waiting to happen,” Dike said. “What happened to me…would never have happened had there been a real guard.”

Some of the patients leave the facility before they’ve fully recovered and are just in search of a car or money and “their next fix,” Dike said. 

“What better place to go in their desperation than the doctor’s parking lot, where the older and more vulnerable are easy prey?” she said. “I realize not all mental illness and chemical dependency patients are a danger, and certainly have the right to privacy, respect, and help. However, it just takes a few.”


COVID-19: 131 new cases and 12 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,784 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 12 new deaths reported today (April 6). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 131 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 251,441 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.4 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 107 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-2 since Saturday’s report – includes ICU); 23 are in ICU (+7 since Saturday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including six new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 243,626 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 6, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 75 new cases and 7 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,791 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including seven new deaths reported today (April 7). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 251,516 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34.2 percent. 71 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 114 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+7 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 29 are in ICU (+6 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 243,771 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 7, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


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


Local Donna McNutt, cancer survivor, is the epitome of resilience, hope, and creativity

By DIANNE RUSSELL

After a serious cancer diagnosis and treatment, some people turn to yoga and meditation to soothe their souls; others take solace in new hobbies, from quilting to calligraphy to cross-country skiing. 

But Laguna resident Donna McNutt, 59, who is doing well five years after a diagnosis of Stage 4 multiple myeloma (a blood cancer), decided to stick with what has brought her joy her entire life: dressing up. It just made sense – no matter that her prognosis seemed dire at the time – to take pleasure in her longtime passion.

(Imagine hearing these words from your doctor, as she did: “We got your bone marrow back and there were so many cancer cells, they quit counting.”)

Local donna hat

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Submitted photo

Stylish, attractive Donna hasn’t let cancer define her

Following a stem cell transplant and related treatment at the City of Hope, Donna was clear about her path forward. She felt there was no need to embark on exotic new activities to continue her emotional and physical recovery.

“I knew from the beginning of my cancer journey that the only way I could survive was to not give up the one thing that I’ve loved to do from a very young age. Getting dressed is like meditation to me. 

“It is so important to me to share with other cancer patients that they should find their thing and hold onto it – never let cancer take it. I fought back, one outfit at a time.

“I now share that message on my Instagram account, @thecancerfashionista.”

Donna brings honor to Laguna Beach

Last year, Donna brought honor to Laguna Beach: as a former patient of the City of Hope, she was chosen to ride their float in the Rose Bowl Parade. 

And this year, along with four other cancer survivors who have ridden on City of Hope’s Rose Parade float in years past, she shared what the experience meant to her in a short video aired on January 1 during a two-hour Rose Parade TV entertainment special. 

Local Donna doctor

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Submitted photo

Donna and Dr. Amrita Krishnan at the 2020 Rose Parade

“As I waved to my family along the parade route, I felt like I was transmitting the message, ‘Never give up! Hope has seen us through.’ One of the best parts of the 2020 Rose Parade for me was seeing the faces and waves of so many people who have been touched by the compassionate, innovative cancer treatments that they, too, received from City of Hope,” she says. 

“We cancer patients support each other, and without words, we understand each other. I was honored to be able to get a brief glimpse into their cancer journey and to share mine.”

Pandemic tests her resilience

Donna’s resilience, and that of her family, was tested once again when the pandemic struck this year. So, with typical creativity, she decided that if she couldn’t go out in public in Laguna, given her vulnerable status, she’d have Laguna come to her. 

“My favorite activity these days is the outdoor dinners we host for our children and extended family. We’ve brought two of our favorite restaurants, Oak Laguna Beach and Wine Gallery, to a new location – our front yard!”

Local Donna dog

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Submitted photo

Donna loves life – and revels in her passion for fashion

The mother of three says that she and her husband are thrilled, after moving from Newport Beach to Laguna, to achieve their lifelong dream of living in a cottage by the sea.

“My husband Jack made a group of supportive friends at Laguna Coffee Company. After my [stem call] transplant, I joined a walking community that greatly helped me recover. Although isolated with a weak immune system, I found it healing to take these walks with my husband.

“Now, with the pandemic, we used all of the skills we had gained through my cancer journey and applied them to the situation. I have learned how to live and not just survive, and we knew that we are going to get through this pandemic, too.”

Doom and gloom in the media didn’t help

Donna admits that reading the repeated news coverage that the weak are doomed was challenging. Not that she thinks of herself as weak, but word was that cancer survivors were more vulnerable than most.

“I had to reassure the family that Mom is OK and is making the right decisions. My family made me so proud with how they all pulled together and encouraged each other.”

Donna is a wonderful symbol of grace under pressure.

“I feel so blessed we moved to this beautiful town,” she adds.


LBUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

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Courtesy of LBUSD

For more information and to access the dashboard, visit www.lbusd.org/resources/covid19/covid-19-reporting

 


COVID-19: 1,340 new cases and 38 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,546 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 38 new deaths reported yesterday (January 21). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,340 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 217,849 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 5.4 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 35 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,935 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-40 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 517 are in ICU (-10 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 670 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported yesterday and 51 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 149,396 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 21, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 892 new cases and 1 new death reported in OC, 5 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,547 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including one new death reported today (January 22). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 892 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 218,741 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.6 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 35 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,896 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-39 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 516 are in ICU (-1 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 675 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including five new cases reported today and 47 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 150,088 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 22, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,038 new cases and 71 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 2,839 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 71 new deaths reported today (January 27). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,038 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 227,021 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 10.1 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 39 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,639 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-38 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 448 are in ICU (+11 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 708 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and 42 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 167,573 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on January 27, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 102 new cases and 1 new death reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,608 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including one new death reported yesterday (March 22). There have been six deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 249,641 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34.7 percent. 70 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 195 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+8 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 50 are in ICU (+7 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 816 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported yesterday and eight new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 241,271 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 22, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 119 new cases and 27 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,635 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 27 new deaths reported today (March 23). There have been six deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 119 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 249,760 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 36 percent. 70 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 188 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-7 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 40 are in ICU (-10 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 816 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including eight new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 241,504 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 23, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 82 new cases and 11 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,646 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 11 new deaths reported today (March 24). There have been six deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 249,842 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.2 percent. 71 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 172 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-16 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 36 are in ICU (-4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 817 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and nine new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 241,709 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 24, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 208 new cases and 4 new deaths reported in OC over last two days, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,772 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including four new deaths reported on April 4. There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 96 new cases of COVID-19 in OC on April 4 and 112 new cases on April 5. There have been 251,310 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 36.5 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 109 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+0 since Saturday’s report – includes ICU); 16 are in ICU (-7 since Saturday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 826 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported on April 5 and six new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 243,435 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 5, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


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..


LBUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

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Courtesy of LBUSD

For more information and to access the dashboard, visit www.lbusd.org/resources/covid19/covid-19-reporting

 


LBUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

LBUSD COVID 19 Dashboard 1 19 21

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBUSD

For more information and to access the dashboard, visit www.lbusd.org/resources/covid19/covid-19-reporting

 


Barbara’s Column

New police chief introduced at City Council meeting

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Police Chief Robert Thompson was formally introduced Tuesday night to the City Council and to Laguna Beach residents – at least those who watched the meeting.

“I am humbled and honored to be the newest member of your police department,” said Thompson. “Before I was employed, we (Thompson is married and the father of two children) were frequent visitors to the city. We spent quite a bit of time here, so when the opportunity opened up, it was something we were excited to pursue.”

Later, he said “I won’t disappoint you.” 

Retiring City Manager John Pietig introduced Thompson, who was hired to succeed Laura Farinella, Laguna’s first-ever female police chief.   

Thompson began his new job January 18, with little opportunity to meet the members of the City Council or the city staff, none of whom participated in the hire. Under Laguna’s form of government, the city manager hires (and fires) all staff with the exception of himself, the city attorney, the city clerk, and the city treasurer, both elected officials.

“I think when everyone gets a chance to get to know [Thompson] – he has a great personality and a sense of humor,” said Pietig.

“We look forward to him getting to know all of us and him getting to know the City Council members and the community.

“Things are a little challenging these days with virtual meetings, and not in-person, so we are going to have to work little extra hard to welcome the chief to our town and our community.”

Not so hard for Mayor Bob Whalen

“I had a chance to speak to the chief the other day and he thought nobody here in Laguna would know anything about Dixon, California,” said Whalen. 

However, C.A. Jacobs Middle School, a school in Dixon, is named for the grandfather of Whalen’s wife, painter Kirsten Whalen.

“He was the principal for years,” said Whalen. 

New police closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Police Chief Robert Thompson

Tuesday’s introduction wasn’t quite as fancy as the reception for Community Development Director Marc Wiener got when he was hired from Carmel –gatherings of staff and residents to welcome newcomers are just one of the casualties of COVID-19.

But Thompson has been cruising City Hall, making himself known and getting to know his way around.

“On day two of week two, I found my office by myself (no mean accomplishment in the rabbit warren of hallways on the second floor) and I got to my car unassisted,” he said, 

Thompson was recruited from Dixon, Calif., a city of nearly 21,000 people near the state capital, where he was hired as police chief in 2017. 

He did not anticipate that he would be moving on in little more than three years, according to a story in The Reporter announcing his departure.

However, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” Allen Saunders wrote in 1957 – and it is still true today. 

Thompson’s wife, an executive in the telecommunications division of an engineering firm, received a job promotion. She was overseeing an office in Irvine, which required frequent trips to the area. 

The opening in Laguna meshed the two careers, an opportunity too good to pass up, but Thompson has nothing but good things say about the Dixon Police Department. 

He described the men and women in the department as confident, capable, and committed.

Thompson was selected from a talented pool of internal and external applicants.

“Rob’s success at working collaboratively with the community, his colleagues, and the police department really set him apart from other candidates,” said Pietig.

He has 26 years of experience in public safety. 

Thompson started his career in 1994 as a 21-year-old officer with the St. Louis, Mo. Police Department. Even earlier, at 13, he was an Explorer, a police program for young people interested in or curious about careers in law enforcement.

New police chief desk

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Chief Thompson started his new duties on January 18

After serving as a police officer for eight years, Thompson joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he was assigned to the Sacramento Division for 15 years.

Thompson’s duties at the FBI included working as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Fairfield Resident Agency. In this capacity, he served as a member of the Solano County Law Enforcement Administrators Association, an organization comprised of the Solano County Sheriff and all police chiefs in Solano County.

He then joined the Dixon Police Department.

In Dixon, Thompson was instrumental in establishing core values, engaging the community, and reorienting the philosophy of the police department members, according to Pietig’s announcement of his hiring. 

“I enjoy engaging community leaders, business owners, and citizens while creating an environment of public trust in the police department, and where employees feel connected to the community they serve,” said Thompson.

Pietig’s announcement also stated Thompson created career development programs to prepare officers for advancement, emphasizing the importance of investing in employees and the city’s commitment to their growth.

“He is dedicated to community-oriented policing, which we really appreciate and look forward to him continuing to implement here in Laguna,” said Pietig.

Laguna has long tradition of community-oriented policing, pioneered by Neil Purcell Jr., who was named Director of Public Safety, chief of both the police and fire departments in 1986. He retired in 1997. 

He informed all new officers that when they put on their uniforms, they must act in accordance with Laguna’s values, not their personal biases. 

Purcell was known for initiating nighttime police escorts to prevent “bashing” of gays walking in town from establishments in town. 

“It was revolutionary,” said former mayor Bob Gentry, whose name was almost always accompanied by ‘the first openly gay elected official in Orange County.’ “And it worked.”

Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in management. He is a graduate of the FBI Academy, has taught at the FBI’s Leadership Program, and has completed numerous post-graduate programs.

The Thompson family is planning to move to Orange County.

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Submit to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Virtual dedication of Lunar Tides by Scott and Naomi Schoenherr set for February 25

On Thursday, Feb 25 at 4:30 p.m., the City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission will host a virtual dedication of the latest public art installation at Heisler Park. With a video message from Mayor Bob Whalen, artists Naomi and Scott Schoenherr will join the Arts Commission for a discussion about their work Lunar Tides.

Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner said, “When John Wolf granted the Arts Commission funds for the production of an art installation at Heisler Park, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation around who the artists should be. It was clear that this donation could help Naomi and Scott Schoenherr add a crescendo to their suite of works already at Heisler Park and that this would be a singular artistic presence in Laguna Beach.”

Virtual dedication artwork

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

“Lunar Tides” at Heisler Park from above 

The installation, created of ceramic, stone, and bronze, took its inspiration from the poem “Giggle Crack” by Shelly Cooper written specifically for Heisler Park. Located at the amphitheater, home to Sunset Serenades, the work will be a stunning stage for concerts in the future. 

Schwerner added, “Lunar Tides feels like it has always been there; that it and the other five installations arrived together to tell an ancient story (like the ancient frescoes of Pompeii and Herculaneum). Lunar Tides is executed with remarkable attention to detail and craftsmanship, of both nature and mankind’s search for meaning. The piece is an example of the artistic enterprise at its best.”

The virtual dedication will be held at 4:30 p.m. and the public is invited to participate and chat with the artists and Arts Commission. If you have a specific question you would like asked, email Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl in advance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To participate, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net and click “Cultural Arts” for a link to the webinar or click here. Participants can also call in at (669) 900-9128 with Web ID: 974 9855 4741. 

This installation has been funded by John Wolf and the City of Laguna Beach.


COVID-19: 163 new cases and 26 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,252 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 26 new deaths reported yesterday (March 8). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 163 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 247,914 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.9 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 288 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-8 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 84 are in ICU (-5 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 803 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including nine new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 236,960 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 8, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


OC reports 413 new cases of COVID-19, 10 more deaths

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, June 20, reflect that there have been 9,988 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 413 new cases reported today. This is the highest single-day increase in the County to date. 1,919 cases have been reported in the last seven days, 19 percent of the County’s cumulative case count.

Sadly, the County reports that 267 people have died due to COVID-19; 10 deaths were reported today. In the last seven days, 50 deaths have been reported, 15 percent of the total deaths in the County.

The County reports 321 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 135 are currently in ICU. 

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 53 confirmed cases to date, a per capita rate of 2.269 cases per thousand residents.

The city with the highest per capita rate in OC is Los Alamitos, with 7.593 cases per thousand residents. 

Newport Beach has had 193 confirmed cases to date. Irvine has had 262 confirmed cases to date. Dana Point has had 38 confirmed cases to date.

Santa Ana has had 2,116 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 61 cases today. Anaheim has had 1,924 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 85 cases today.

The County reports that 4,785 people have recovered from COVID-19 to date. Visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc for recovery data criteria and more information.

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 June 20;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Wrongful-death suit filed against Grace Coleman and her parents

Twenty-two-year-old Grace Coleman, a graduate of Laguna Beach High School, has been named in a wrongful-death lawsuit that resulted from a suspected DUI traffic collision in which the parents of three young girls were killed.

The incident occurred on December 8 in Newport Coast when Coleman, of Newport Beach, was suspected of running a red light, killing Henry Salana-Mejia, 27, and his wife, Gabriela Andrade, 28, both of Santa Ana. Their deaths left the couple’s three children, ages 5, 4, and 1, orphaned. 

The children were also severely injured.

In addition to Coleman, the lawsuit also names her parents, James and Kelli Coleman, also of Newport Beach, alleging that they share responsibility because they own the vehicle involved in the collision and allowed their daughter access.

Grace Coleman

Courtesy of LBPD

Grace Coleman

The attorney for the children, Jeff Roberts, of Roberts/Jeandron Law, LLP, in Newport Beach, said, “Instead of punishing the accused, this case is about taking care of the family that’s left behind. It’s about holding other people accountable that enabled her to be in the vehicle at the time. She (Coleman) was living with her parents and had a previous incident where her vehicle would have been impounded, so we have no doubt that her parents (who owned the vehicle) knew about her drinking.” 

Roberts also noted that they became aware of Coleman’s social media posts that reportedly showed a “recurring theme of a party girl with alcohol in several of her pictures.”

“This is a 22-year-old girl that had a drinking problem and instead of getting her help, she was given a Range Rover,” said Roberts.

Coleman was previously arrested by the Laguna Beach Police Department on August 29, 2020 for an alleged DUI.

On the night of this last collision, it is alleged that Coleman was driven home from a brewery after reportedly drinking excessively, only to then drive the family’s Range Rover. Soon thereafter she reportedly collided with Salana-Meija’s Versa. Coleman was also accused by Newport Beach Police of attempting to flee the scene of the accident, only to be arrested a short distance away.

Coleman was charged with two counts of murder, among other charges, and issued a no-bail order. Her attorneys attempted to have her released last month to a residential treatment facility but that was denied.


COVID-19: 602 new cases and 50 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,249 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 37 new deaths reported yesterday (February 4). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 602 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 235,310 cumulative cases to date.

ICU capacity remains very low and hospitalization numbers very high. The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.6 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 52 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,238 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-60 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 365 are in ICU (+2 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 740 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported yesterday and 28 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 192,411 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 4, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,028 new cases and 30 new deaths reported in OC, 7 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,279 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 30 new deaths reported today (February 5). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,028 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 236,338 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 11.1 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 53 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,233 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-5 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 342 are in ICU (-23 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 747 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including seven new cases reported today and 23 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 195,526 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 5, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 739 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,312 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported today (February 6). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 739 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 237,077 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 9.6 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 53 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,164 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-69 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 347 are in ICU (+5 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 749 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and 29 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 197,272 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 6, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 1,187 new cases and 46 new deaths reported in OC, 13 new cases in Laguna Beach 

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,358 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 46 new deaths reported today (February 7). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 1,187 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 238,264 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 10.4 percent unadjusted and 0 percent adjusted.* 58 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 1,093 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-71 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 335 are in ICU (-12 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 13 new cases reported today and 34 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 198,368 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

*Adjusted ICU capacity takes into account the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU (the higher the percentage of COVID-19 positive patients in the ICU, the more the adjustment).

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 7, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 174 new cases and 41 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,889 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 41 new deaths reported yesterday (February 25). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 245,634 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 27 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 515 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+0 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 160 are in ICU (+9 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 789 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 12 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 228,838 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 25, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 349 new cases and 3 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,892 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including three new deaths reported today (February 26). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 349 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 245,983 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 29.7 percent. 60 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 453 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-62 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 137 are in ICU (-23 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 790 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 12 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 229,785 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 26, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 281 new cases and 12 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,904 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 12 new deaths reported today (February 27). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 281 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,264 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 31.5 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 444 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-9 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 128 are in ICU (-9 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 791 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and seven new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 230,569 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 27, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 191 new cases and 13 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,917 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 13 new deaths reported today (February 28). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 191 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,455 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 29.8 percent. 62 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 421 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-23 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 132 are in ICU (+4 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 794 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including three new cases reported today and nine new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 230,971 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 28, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 160 new cases and 47 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,013 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 47 new deaths reported yesterday (March 4). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 160 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 247,140 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 30.8 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 379 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-24 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 97 are in ICU (-10 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 801 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported yesterday and 12 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 234,853 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 4, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 232 new cases and 62 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,075 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 62 new deaths reported today (March 5). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,372 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.2 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 339 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-40 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 91 are in ICU (-6 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 801 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including 11 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 235,574 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 5, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 269 new cases and 98 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,173 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 98 new deaths reported today (March 6). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 269 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,641 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 32.2 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 321 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-18 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 87 are in ICU (-4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 803 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and 12 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 236,047 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 6, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 110 new cases and 53 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,226 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 53 new deaths reported today (March 7). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,751 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 296 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-25 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 89 are in ICU (+2 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 803 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including nine new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 236,312 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 7, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 108 new cases and 61 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,313 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 61 new deaths reported today (March 9). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 108 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,022 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34.7 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 283 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-5 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 77 are in ICU (-7 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 804 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 11 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 237,416 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 9, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 56 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,346 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported today (March 10). There have been five deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,078 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 32.8 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 277 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-6 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 73 are in ICU (-4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 805 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and eight new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 237,859 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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COVID 19 County 3 10 21 3

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 10, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 123 new cases and 1 new death reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,726 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including one new death reported yesterday (March 29). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 250,431 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.8 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 145 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-11 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 29 are in ICU (+4 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 820 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported yesterday and four new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 242,463 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 29, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 106 new cases and 14 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,740 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 14 new deaths reported today (March 30). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 250,537 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.7 percent. 73 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 143 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-2 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 26 are in ICU (-3 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 820 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 242,669 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 30, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 146 new cases and 4 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,744 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including four new deaths reported today (March 31). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 146 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 250,683 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 36.7 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 141 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-2 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 26 are in ICU (+0 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 822 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and five new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 242,880 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 31, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


County surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases, reports another 434 cases, 269 deaths to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, June 21, reflect that there have been 10,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 434 new cases reported today. This is the highest single-day increase in the County to date. 1,918 cases have been reported in the last seven days, 18.4 percent of the County’s cumulative case count.

Sadly, the County reports that 269 people have died due to COVID-19; two deaths were reported today.

The County reports 332 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 133 are currently in ICU. 

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 53 confirmed cases to date, a per capita rate of 2.269 cases per thousand residents.

The city with the highest per capita rate in OC is Los Alamitos, with 7.508 cases per thousand residents. 

Newport Beach has had 198 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of five cases today. Irvine has had 280 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 18 cases today. Dana Point has had 39 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of one case today.

Santa Ana has had 2,189 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 73 cases today. Anaheim has had 2,007 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 83 cases today.

The County reports that 4,953 people have recovered from COVID-19 to date. Visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc for recovery data criteria and more information.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

Editor’s Note: The County reports that the June 20 and June 21 new case counts are higher due to “resolution of an electronic laboratory reporting delay” but does specify on which date(s) these positive cases should have been reported.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of June 21;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Jose Luis Flores, Laguna’s legendary and beloved hotel maintenance engineer, dies at 49

Just one week short of his 50th birthday, on December 17, 2020, Jose Luis Flores, beloved employee of two Laguna hotels spanning 25 years, passed away from brain cancer. Services were held on December 31. He is survived by his wife and three children.

A hotel maintenance engineer, Jose took enormous pleasure in his work, according to friends, co-workers, and employers, and always felt a part of the community. In particular he loved Laguna Beach’s beauty, so much so that he would arrive early before work to run on the beach and breathe in the ocean air. Laguna was a very important part of his life.

Jose’s brother, who works in the same department at Pacific Edge Hotel, says the hardest part will be coming in every day and not having his brother there, after working together for the last 21 years. 

Jose Luis Flores

Submitted photo

Jose Luis Flores

Jose and his brother were first employed by the Haneline family, the former owners of Vacation Village, now the Pacific Edge Hotel, in the late 90s. 

Christine Haneline, along with her brother Russ, says the Flores men were the best employees they’d ever had. 

“They were such a great family. Their mother passed away when they were young boys. Jose’s father came to work for us and he was such a great man, raising both Jose and his brother to be wonderful men, husbands, and fathers. Jose was an overall great guy, always talking about his wife and kids – he was proud of them and loved them dearly.

“The three men were the backbone of our maintenance department and they provided excellent customer service that made our hotel so successful. Jose was not only an incredible employee, but he was extremely hardworking. He was always eager to learn something new and always cheerful. The entire staff and our guests at Vacation Village loved Jose. 

“We sponsored Jose’s path to citizenship, and he was so proud when he became a U.S. citizen. We were deeply saddened to hear of his sudden passing.” 

Kurt Bjorkman, general manager of The Ranch at Laguna Beach, and formerly of the Pacific Edge Hotel, is full of praise for the man.

“I had the fortune of being able to work with Jose both here at The Ranch and at Pacific Edge Hotel,” Bjorkman says. “Jose committed virtually his entire life to Laguna Beach hospitality, making two legendary properties shine and their guests feel welcomed. I am humbled by his accomplishments. We need to have more people in this world with a heart for service such as Jose’s ─ it would be a much better place to live in.”

Praise pours in for a well-loved man

Co-workers and friends were devastated to hear the news.

“Jose was a good friend, co-worker, and a good person. I’m sending my prayers and condolences to his family and [prayers] for God to bless them and give them strength to help alleviate the loss of such an incredible person,” says Jose Rivera, former chief engineer at The Ranch at Laguna Beach.

Jack Dexter, golf manager at former Ben Brown’s, and now at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, adds, “Truly one of the best. Such a great human being. God rest his soul.” 

Martin Espinoza, engineer at The Ranch, says, “For my friend Jose, may God have you in his glory. Thank you for the things you taught me, you will be missed. Goodbye friend, until soon.”

Clearly, Jose was an exceptional man, as evidenced by the outpouring of emotion from friends and colleagues, and his well-earned reputation for his dedication to the work he loved.

“Jose Flores was a model employee and had such a kind heart. He showed up to work on time, with a smile on his face, and a positive and can-do attitude,” says Lisa Rosecrans, director of human resources at The Ranch. “He was passionate about his work and his family. Jose was the definition of hospitality, making people feel welcome and at home.”

May he rest in peace.


Laguna mourns loss of Barbara Diamond, the doyenne of journalism, and honors her profound legacy

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Wednesday, the passing of journalist Barbara Diamond, 88, a cherished and revered figure in the community and iconic reporter with Stu News, left a void that can never be filled. Always the keen observer and discerning chronicler – of just the facts and only the facts – no one knew the town better than Barbara.

After separating from her husband in 1980, a visit to Shaw’s Cove with her three boys turned into a stay that graced and elevated our city for 41 years. When she purchased her historic home on Diamond Street in 1985, she became known as “The Diamond of Diamond Street.” 

Longtime friend Kris Thalman says, “Such sad news to hear about our legendary Barbara Diamond’s passing yesterday! She was the ultimate professional, a wonderful friend and confidant, as well as [the source of] a wealth of amazing life stories. She was kind, always dressed to the nines, and a generous soul. We love you, Barbara, and will miss you immensely! RIP my friend!”

As described by friends and colleagues, Barbara was an icon, a class act, a real gem, one-of-a-kind, and a treasure – who was always fashionably dressed and wore her signature red glasses with style.

A staple at City Council meetings, Barbara had a special place both literally and figuratively in the council chambers.

Laguna mourns notebook

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Barbara on the job

“We are heartbroken to have lost Barbara,” says Michael Kinsman, former president, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and Cheryl Kinsman, former Mayor, Laguna Beach. “Even our two dogs – Barbara’s and ours – were from the same litter. Laguna Beach has lost an icon. Barbara Diamond, who sat in the front row of all important meetings in town and who understood what those meetings meant and what was going on in our town, will be missed by all who knew her, either in person or through her writing. Her stories in Stu News every week kept Lagunans in the know about what was happening in our town. She was a friend to all on all sides of issues, and loved Laguna.” 

Barbara’s dedication didn’t go unnoticed and she received official recognition from many sources.

In July of 2018, she received a proclamation stating, “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Kelly Boyd, Mayor of the City of Laguna Beach, California, do hereby proclaim that Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) is a highly-respected, trusted and talented Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist.”

In 2019, she was named the Grand Marshal of the Patriots Day Parade, however, it was postponed until 2020 due to weather.

Former mayor Elizabeth Pearson says, “I am so disheartened by the loss of my dear friend. It’s hard to imagine Laguna without her wonderful storytelling, infectious laugh and, for me, her wonderful kindness and sage advice. My heart is broken.”

It seems the journalism bug was in the family – her mother was a reporter.

Barbara was born on November 2, 1932, in Grand Junction, Colorado. Her father died when she was an infant and at age four, she moved to San Francisco with her stepfather Robert McElroy and reporter-mother Zella – known as “Pinkie.” 

Barbara began her journalism career at Galileo High School where she was editor of the school newspaper which won honors as the top three school newspapers in the nation. After graduating in 1950, she studied at San Francisco City College for two years, but at age 19, her passion for journalism drove her to take a job in the advertising department of The Examiner.

Laguna mourns parade

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2019/20 Grand Marshal of the Patriots Day Parade

There she met her future husband Jerry Diamond, who handled The Examiner’s advertising accounts. Evidently, sparks flew; however, before they could get married, William Randolph Hearst, the owner of The Examiner, had to give his permission. Since Barbara wasn’t crazy about advertising, she left and she and Jerry started a family that eventually grew to three sons – Kevin, Kenneth, and Paul.

What began with writing a column on sports car road-racing (British Motor Cars) led her husband to start his own PR agency with BMC as their sole client.

As his career flourished, they moved from San Bruno to Tiburon in Marin County and Barbara became a stay-at-home mom.

With the rise of women’s sports, Jerry became executive director of the Women’s Tennis Association, and Barbara signed on as the editor of the sport’s official journal, Inside Women’s Tennis. However, the marriage didn’t survive.

Once Barbara moved to Laguna, her journalistic work became a fixture in the community. What started as writing PR pieces for the animal shelter led to a job at the Laguna News-Post writing columns such as “Village Views,” “Dana Pointers,” and “Niguel Nuggets.” She also initiated the Police Blotter section.

However, many changes were to come. The Orange County Register bought the Laguna News-Post and Barbara decided she wanted to report local news. She retired in 2000 after suffering a severe hand injury, but soon after contacted the late Stu Saffer at the Coastline News to see if he might want a “mature reporter.” He did, and she was given a wide berth to write what she wanted, when she wanted. 

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Barbara at her table at a Council meeting

In 2002, the LA Times acquired the Coastline News and it became the Coastline Pilot for which she wrote a column. (In 2016, the Coastline Pilot was absorbed into the Daily Pilot.)

Tragically, her son Paul was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013 and Barbara left for Marin to care for him.

By the time she returned three years later after Paul’s death, Stu Saffer had successfully developed a new mode of producing news – this time online as Stu News. Stu and his business partner Shaena Stabler welcomed her back and she resumed her career at age 83, continuing to cover the City Council meetings and all things Laguna. 

Shaena, owner, editor, and publisher of Stu News, says, “Our community is heartbroken over the loss of Barbara. A journalist of the utmost integrity, she dedicated her life to Laguna, and our community is better because of her. She brought us together as a town, story by story. Barbara was Laguna – how will we ever carry on without her? I will personally miss her so very much, as I know so many of us will. She touched so many people’s lives, in so many ways, across the aisles, across the generations. My heart goes out to her family – whom she loved and cherished deeply. May we honor Barbara forevermore through our lives and our actions.”

Her son Paul Diamond preceded her in death, as did her grandson Brian. She is survived by two sons: Kevin Diamond, of Sausalito and Kenny Diamond, of Corte Madero, and daughter-in-law Chris Diamond; grandchildren Julie, Scott Diamond, Kaitlyn Diamond, Kelsey Diamond, Lindsey Diamond, and Nicholas Diamond; and great-grandson Tyler.

She is also survived by nephews Jeff Hadlich, of Laguna Beach; John Hadlich of Redmond, Oregon; and Joel Hadlich of Huntington Beach; as well as niece Janine Conners of Dana Point; and sister-in-law Patsy Hadlich of Dana Point.

In an interview with the Daily Pilot in February of 2019 when she was due to ride as Grand Marshal in the Patriots Day Parade, which was canceled due to rain, Barbara said, “It doesn’t happen every day that you get to be a part of the history of the town.”

It could also be said that it doesn’t happen every day that a town has the privilege of having someone as rare as Barbara Diamond in its midst. 

Please send your remembrances of Barbara for our continuing tribute next week in the Tuesday and Friday editions. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For those wishing to donate to Barbara’s LBHS Scholarship Fund, details will follow in Tuesday’s edition.


Orange County moves into the Red Tier as stats continue to improve

Last Friday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Californians in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, increasing immunity where the state’s transmission rate and disease burden have been the highest during the pandemic. With this equity metric met, and because vaccines slow the spread of disease and serious illness, the previously announced update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to account for progress with vaccine administration goes into effect. So, effective Sunday, March 14, Orange County moved into the Red Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy after having met Red Tier metrics.

As a result, many local businesses and activities in Orange County are now allowed to expand capacity or resume operations. Visit the state’s website at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/, enter Orange in the County field and business or activity of interest in the Activity field, and click the Get Latest Risk Levels button to view its status under the Red Tier. As an additional resource, residents can go here for the activities and businesses that are permitted under each tier by the state.

In addition, CDPH has announced that effective last Saturday, March 13, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve meals may open outdoors only with modifications in the Purple (widespread) and Red (substantial) tiers. The modifications include ensuring that patrons have reservations and patrons observe a 90-minute time limit. Service for on-site consumption must end by 8 p.m. The updated guidance does not apply to breweries, wineries, and distilleries that provide meals. Those establishments should continue to follow the restaurant guidance. However, bars that do not serve meals must remain closed in the Purple and Red tiers.

Beginning June 1, overnight sleepaway camps will be allowed to resume with modifications in the Red, Orange, and Yellow tiers.

For questions related to COVID-19, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).


Remodel plans for Pacific Edge Hotel move forward, with conditions

By SARA HALL

The Laguna Beach Planning Commission this week unanimously approved plans to remodel Pacific Edge Hotel, with modified conditions reflecting their key concerns.

Located at 647 S Coast Hwy, and 610-668 Sleepy Hollow Ln, the project includes adding 25 rooms, building an underground parking garage, relocating the registration lobby, and adding a café with outdoor dining.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the project on Wednesday night, after about four hours of presentation, discussion, and public comment. 

The primary issues revolved around the construction schedule and staging plan (complete shutdown versus phased and partially open), parking and traffic impacts and mitigation efforts (particularly on Sleepy Hollow Lane), and employee transportation services.

Other changes to conditions include making more of an effort on sustainability and additional noise mitigation at the pool area.

There was also some discussion about the hotel’s plan to use modern trash compactors, the landscape plan along PCH, Art in Public Places Program, historical registration for one of the buildings, geotechnical concerns for the aging buildings, and the affordable units in-lieu fee of $625,000, which will go toward a coastal trail construction project.

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Rendering by Luxigon/Courtesy of City of LB 

A rendering of the highway elevation view of the Pacific Edge Hotel project

The scope of the project includes a remodel of nine existing buildings, adding 25 rooms (total of 156 rooms), relocation of the pool and spa area (removing two existing pools and building a larger pool deck and bar), construction of a subsurface parking garage and new hotel building, restriping of the parking areas, new porte-cochère, roadway improvements along Sleepy Hollow Lane, new office, fitness center, and conference areas, a new café with outdoor dining, air conditioning, landscaping, lighting, and architectural features.

Local architect Morris Skenderian and Los Angeles-based Rocky Rockefeller are the architects on the project for Highgate Hotels, the majority owner of the property. 

The bulk of Wednesday’s discussion revolved around the construction schedule, proposed in the staff report as a complete shutdown of the hotel for one year, but revised during the meeting by the applicants to stay open, at least partially, during the year-long construction process.

Condition 48, as written in the resolution, states that the entirety of the resort shall be closed to the public for the duration of construction to ensure that all construction vehicles and materials can be contained within the existing resort parking lots.

Although during the applicant’s presentation, Skenderian said that’s no longer the plan.

“That was a consideration at one time, but I think they’d prefer not to shut it all down and start over, but to do it sequentially within the year…checkerboard fashion,” he said.

Commissioners were taken aback, given how it was written in the resolution.

“When I read that condition, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a bold approach and that’s really a good approach,’” Commissioner Ken Sadler said. “Bite the bullet and shut the place down and just deal with the construction (on-site).”

It might be a bit costly, but it would certainly help mitigate construction issues in the neighborhood, he said.

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Rendering by Luxigon/Courtesy of City of LB 

A rendering of the proposed remodel project for Pacific Edge Hotel

If there’s not a full shutdown, which several commissioners were heavily leaning toward, the applicant needs to submit a detailed construction staging plan that keeps construction vehicles, equipment, and workers on-site with as little impact to the neighborhood as possible. At that time, Council can consider which is the best approach.

Submitting the phased plan can definitely be done, Skenderian said. They don’t want to completely let the employees go for that extended period of time, he explained.

The property should be shut down during construction and the employees fairly compensated, Commissioner Steven Goldman said. 

“I don’t want to spend money that’s not mine, but I think keeping employees paid and keeping employees on the payroll…the cost of that should be offset by the decreased time of construction as well as, probably, significant cost efficiency by closing it down and doing it all at once,” Goldman said.

Vann Avedisian, a principal at Highgate Holdings, seemed to accept the commissioners’ request.

“Reading the room, obviously the construction staging seems to be a point with the majority of the Planning Commission,” Avedisian said. “At the end of the day, if the Commission is ready to approve this project under that condition, I think we would agree to that.”

If they present a phased construction staging plan and the Commission or City Council feel that it’s a better approach, they could shift to that, Avedisian said.

“But, if around the table, the Planning Commission, people felt like a complete shutdown was the right approach, then we would live by that,” Avedisian concluded.

Staff could write in both options, along with Commissioner comments and concerns, within the recommendation to Council, Planning Manager Scott Drapkin confirmed.

Remodel plans current hotel

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The current Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach

The other main concerns, regarding employee transportation and parking studies, were worked out to the Commission’s satisfaction.

Condition 21 that requires the permittee to provide “incentives” to control employee parking, is too vague, Sadler said.

The condition also states that employees shall have access to bicycle racks, showers, and lockers to encourage bicycle commuting. 

“Nobody is going to commute from Anaheim [or other inland cities] on a bicycle,” Commissioner Jorg Dubin said. “The idea of somebody riding a bicycle from out of town to come to work is just nonsense.”

Instead of OCTA and Laguna Beach Transit passes being offered as “awards for employee recognition programs” (like employee of the month), the condition should require the permittee to offer them to all employees who want one or both of the passes, he said.

Condition 25 requires that the permittee submit a parking study prepared by a traffic engineer to review efficiencies, effectiveness, and/or problems associated with the innovative parking solution (i.e. off-street ride-hailing area) at one and five years, from the date the permit is implemented. 

Commissioners agreed that the parking study should also be required at six months after implementation.

Nearly a dozen people spoke during public comment and all but one opposed the project. 

Many of the speakers were employees at other hotels or resorts in Orange County. They urged the Commission to reject the project, which several argued isn’t compatible considering the additional rooms, doesn’t respectfully consider the current employees and their commute and parking problems, and that it will create more community traffic and parking issues.

A few Sleepy Hollow Lane residents also commented, but were split on supporting or opposing the project.

Remodel plans Rendering 3

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Rendering by Luxigon/Courtesy of City of LB 

A rendering of the proposed remodel project from Sleeping Hollow Lane

Doug Garnhart said that while it would be nice to have the property revamped, calling it a “kind of an eyesore” as it currently stands, the proposed project does not offer solutions to problems that currently need to be addressed. “I think that there are some significant flaws in what they’re proposing here,” Garnhart said.

The traffic studies, and valet and parking plans all need work, he said. He’s had a number of unfriendly run-ins with the valets in the past, he claimed, and they often block the street and driveways. Parking is so limited that residents often have trouble navigating Sleepy Hollow Lane.

“Valet makes no effort to make this a friendly environment,” Garnhart said. “They’ve made no effort to be a good neighbor.”

Another neighbor, James Costa, agreed that traffic is often blocked on the street and he can’t see how this project will make any improvements to the current problem. 

Although not all the Sleepy Hollow neighbors are opposed.

Ray Fidel, who lives in a single-family residence on the street, said he supports the proposal. He spent time with the applicant and architect, learning about the project what it entails.

“They’ve been, in my experience, extremely thoughtful (and) very diligent, in terms of trying to mitigate that kind of a development next to a single-family home,” Fidel said.

Overall, commissioners praised the project and pointed out several positive aspects that outweigh their concern on the few issues that still need to be worked out. 

“It’s a really, really great example of an upgrade to an aging and inconsistent complex,” Dubin said. “(They) have really put together a program that’s going to take a resort complex and not only unify it, but make it look like something that we can all be really proud of, as far as the community goes.”

As a result of the owner’s vision and the expert consulting team, this project is addressing a number of issues, Commission Chair Susan Whitin said.

“It’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat, essentially. These are non-descript, dull buildings, they don’t make any impact at all on Coast Highway as they stand,” Whitin said. “(The project) looks fairly straight-forward and simple, but it’s really quite elegant in the way it’s been knit together into a cohesive whole,” Whitin said. “I’d say it’s a destination resort.”


Guest Column

Stop Asian Hate 

By Hallie Jones

In my circle – in everyone’s circle – we are a rich mosaic of diversity. Like the myriad plants that make up our incredible, imperiled Coastal Sage Scrub, my family and my community is made up of people from diverse backgrounds.

The horrifying murders in Georgia, and indeed, the shocking hate crimes against people of Asian descent across the country, make it all the more critical for us all to stand together.

As a mom, the safety of my children always comes first. And as the mother of two children of Chinese descent, these stories hit especially close to home. My Chinese-American daughter will be fetishized at some point in her life. My Chinese-American son will be marginalized less, and I hate to say this, but it’s true, because he looks more Caucasian.

Guest Column Stop Asian Hate

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If not us, who? Hallie is flanked by daughter Em and son Kai

My heart hurts when I think of my ex-in-laws, who will always be family, and the risk they’re faced with by just walking out their front doors.

As the executive director of a conservation organization, I once struggled to understand the role an environmental organization plays in racial injustice. Is it my place to take a stand for equality?

If not me, who?

If not Laguna Canyon Foundation, who?

And if not now, when?

At what point will we, together, stand up and say no more? What will it take for us to recognize that every human, every living being is worthy of respect and kindness?

I’m not always going to get the language right. I’ll say things awkwardly and I’ll stumble over my words. But silence is no longer an option.

When I see people on the trails, nine times out of 10 I am greeted with a smile and a hello. Sometimes that hello comes in heavily accented English. Sometimes it’s a silent wave and smiling eyes above a COVID-era mask.

These trails, and our open space bring us together. Wilderness reminds us of the importance of diversity, in our communities and in our ecosystems.

If not me, who?

If not now, when?

Here are some links to visit to Stop Asian Hate: AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). 


Orange County progresses from Red Tier to Orange on Wednesday, March 31

Today, March 30, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that effective Wednesday, March 31, Orange County (OC) will move into the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy after having successfully achieved Orange Tier metrics for two weeks.

As a result, many local businesses and activities in OC will either be allowed to expand capacity or resume operations. Please visit the State’s website at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy, enter Orange in the County field and business or activity of interest in the Activity field, and click the Get Latest Risk Levels button to view its status under the Orange Tier.

As an additional resource, residents may visit here for the activities and businesses that are permitted under each Tier by the State.

Continued adherence to non-medical public health mitigation measures such as wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, washing hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and practicing physical distancing from those outside your household will help limit the impact of variants circulating in Southern California, particularly as more indoor activities open and expand operations.

Residents who have not yet received a vaccination against COVID-19 are encouraged to register at www.Othena.com to be placed in the virtual waiting room and notified when it is their turn to schedule an appointment. For the latest eligibility guidelines, please visit https://coronavirus.egovoc.com/covid-19-vaccination-distribution. Those needing assistance with Othena may call the County of Orange’s COVID-19 Hotline 7 days a week from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at (714) 834-2000.

Additional information and resources:

OC COVID-19 case count information as reported to the OC Health Care Agency: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

Vaccines Administered in OC dashboard: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/vaccines-administered-oc

For the latest COVID-19 information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).


Housing Element workshop covers potential sites, new programs, “encouraging” action

By SARA HALL

As cities across California grapple with state housing requirements, Laguna Beach is one of many working to update its Housing Element within the General Plan in order to comply with the mandates.

During a joint City Council and Planning Commission workshop on Tuesday (April 6), officials reviewed and provided input on the draft 6th Cycle Housing Element.

Discussion mostly revolved around potential sites, incentives for affordable housing, certain proposed programs (including a “zoning toolbox” and an Accessory Dwelling Unit amnesty program), and taking more substantial action instead of just “encouraging” development of affordable housing.

There are a lot of words like “encourage” and “pursue” ideas or programs in the draft document, Commissioner Steve Kellenberg said.

“I just wonder if there couldn’t be something more concrete,” he said, like developing an action plan or a list of steps of how to actually achieve these items, “rather than just kind of floating out there in the future somewhere.”

There’s been a lot of input into the Housing Element update, Commission Chair Susan Whitin said, and she’s excited to see the implementation tools included in the document.

“I’m very encouraged by this policy document, but it doesn’t present itself as a document that’s going to sit on the shelf,” Whitin said. “The tools for implementing housing development are within this document.”

Housing Element documents must be updated and certified by the state’s Housing and Community Development department every eight years. Laguna Beach previously adopted its Housing Element in 2014, which covered the planning cycle of 2013-2021. The 2021-2029 update must be certified by HCD by October 15.

Tuesday’s joint meeting was so council and commission members could provide comments and direction before the document’s final adoption, expected later this summer.

HCD determines the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which is 394 units for Laguna Beach’s current cycle. Cities are not obligated to build housing, but are required to identify opportunities for new housing and implement a plan to accommodate the units throughout the city, explained Acting Assistant Director So Kim.

Cities are required to show that they can meet the RHNA allocation through four areas of criteria: Current projects, expected projects, new sites, and Accessory Dwelling Units. 

Housing Element Scott Brashier Wide

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment allocation for Laguna Beach’s current housing cycle is 394 units

The only current pipeline project that can be included in the update is Pyne Castle, at 770 Hillcrest Dr, which is purposing to add more than a dozen units to the existing condominium complex on a 2.35-acre parcel. The project is currently in the early stages of city review.

A second project (at 20412 Laguna Canyon Rd) listed in the draft document and the workshop staff report is no longer applicable because the building permit was issued during the previous cycle.

An expected project is at 350 Club Dr, at the Artisan Laguna Beach apartment complex off El Toro Road. The property owner has been in discussions with the city, expressing interest in developing 147 additional housing units, including the required 25 percent of affordable units (equal to 37 units). The proposed development would be on a portion (2.21 acres) of an existing apartment complex, yielding a density of 66 units per acre. This project was submitted on March 17 for initial zoning review. 

City staff has identified four new sites that comprise a total 4.6 acres with the potential to yield 166 units, Kim said.

The sites are zoned non-residential: Local business-professional, institutional, and local business district. However, according to city staff, affordable housing that is defined as “residential housing, special needs” is permitted in these zones with no density limit via the approval of a conditional use permit. The staff report explains that, based on current development trends, a potential density of 45 units per acre would be considered not only feasible, but a conservative estimate especially given that there is no density limit for the new Housing Element sites when affordable housing is built.

Potential new sites listed in the staff report: 340 St. Ann’s Dr, currently occupied by the Neighborhood Congregational Church; 21632 Wesley Dr, currently occupied by the Laguna Beach Methodist Church; 31778 Sunset Ave, vacant land owned by Mission Hospital; and 305-397 N Coast Hwy, which consists of seven contiguous properties. The sites are all developed with existing commercial uses and associated surface parking lots.

The Housing Element also assumes 15 ADU applications annually, which would yield 120 units over the planning period. 

Housing Element Scott Brashier Medium

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Housing Element update includes some new programs and policies

The Housing Element identifies sites in order to meet RHNA requirements, but also acts as a guide for how the city approaches the overall housing issue. “This is also the vision of the city on how we want to promote housing in the city in general,” Kim said. “Whether that’s just limited to affordable housing, that’s a policy direction that the city needs to decide. And how far we want to go with these various actions is really up to the city.”

The draft document is divided into two sections: Goals and policies, and housing programs. Most of it is retained from the previous cycle’s document, with some minor updates and amendments. 

Among the updates are seven new policies: Encourage adaptive reuse, encourage school districts and churches to develop on their surplus properties, encourage work/live spaces, explore potential for pilot co-housing/co-living, encourage preservation/development of mixed-use projects, incentives for affordable housing, and affordable housing focus on seniors and other special needs households.

Updated housing programs include: Adequate sites and monitoring no net loss, a “zoning toolbox,” permit streamlining, downtown specific plan phase 2, ADUs, special needs housing, affordable housing partnerships, housing preservation and rehabilitation, affordable housing funding and programs, information, education and marketing, and fair housing.

The zoning toolbox commits the city to study potential amendments to the zoning code for the purpose of reducing regulatory barriers and provide a more flexible set of development guidelines, Kim said. 

Action items in the toolbox include: Amend zoning code to refer to state density bonus law, evaluate potential amendment to the R-3 zone to allow affordable housing as a permitted use, and explore flexible development standards for affordable housing (examples include incentives, reduce parking ratios, and potentially allowing additions above commercial properties).

“Incentives for affordable housing is not limited to financial incentives, we could look at development standards as a whole and see where there could be more flexibility if one wants to develop an affordable housing project,” Kim said.

There are huge challenges in actually getting affordable housing built, said Councilmember George Weiss. Projects needs third-party funding, either through the city or through a housing authority, and more needs to be done than just “encouraging” the developers.

Listing where people can go for grants is one thing, but the city could take action and create a grant program, funded by third-party, outside programs, Kellenberg suggested, referencing an earlier discussion by the Planning Commission. Specifically grant programs for ADU conversions that would commit to affordable housing would be helpful, he added.

“The thought is it may not be that much, in terms of total money, to have an impact,” Kellenberg said.

Whitin suggested a regional or state resource that provides information to developers about opportunities and what cities offer related to affordable housing.

“We’re a small town, perceived [as a] closed small town, and we need to get the word out on a much broader regional or state level to attract the right caliber of developer to come here and tackle these projects,” Whitin said.

All the municipalities are required to submit their housing element sites inventory to the state in a specific format, so the intention is to compile an exhaustive list, said housing consultant Veronica Tam.

Housing Element Michael Tanaka

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Photo by Michael Tanaka

An ADU amnesty program is in the works for the housing plan

Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf asked about bringing “illegal units out of the dark” and counting them for RHNA numbers.

The city can actually do that, Tam confirmed, as long as there is an amnesty program in place to facilitate and help people bring the units up to code.

“The bottom line is, as long as it was not permitted as a unit [and counted during a previous housing cycle] and you’re bringing it into code and permitting it as a housing unit, you do have the ability to count that towards your RHNA,” Tam said.

The ADU program (program five in the Housing Plan section) in the draft Housing Element document is meant to ease restrictions on ADUs and provide incentives for their development or preservation. 

An action item within the ADU program mentions amnesty specifically. The new ADU ordinance “provides opportunities for fee waivers and an amnesty provision to bring existing unpermitted units up to code standards,” the document reads.

The amnesty program is meant to defer the code enforcement matter up to five years for the property owner to bring the structure into compliance, Kim said. Aside from ADUs, there are some residential units in zones that don’t currently allow it, Kim said. But there is some concern that if an amnesty program allowed for legalization of all residential units that exist (rather than just ADUs, as the draft document is currently written) there’s a possibility that it could require a zoning and/or land use amendment, she said. 

Read the draft Housing Element document here.


COVID-19: County reports “elevated disease transmission,” “increasing hospitalization,” and “limited hospital capacity”

According to the OC Health Care Agency, Orange County is experiencing “elevated disease transmission,” “increasing hospitalization,” and “limited hospitalization” – with an 11.6 percent change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients. The County reports an increase of 456 cases received yesterday, June 29, and a total of 13,064 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the County reports that 330 people have died due to COVID-19, including four new deaths received yesterday. There have been no deaths of Laguna Beach residents.

171 of those who have died were skilled nursing facility residents; two were individuals experiencing homelessness.

The County reports that 485 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (includes ICU); 175 are in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 59 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of three cases yesterday, a per capita rate of 2.526 cases per thousand residents. 

Santa Ana has had 2,734 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 76 cases yesterday, and 86 deaths. Anaheim has had 2,463 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 71 cases yesterday, and 83 deaths. Newport Beach has had 272 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 19 cases yesterday, and two deaths. Irvine has had 365 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 17 cases yesterday, and five deaths. Dana Point has had 52 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of two cases yesterday, and no deaths.

The age group with the most confirmed cases is 25-34 years old, accounting for 2,739 of the total confirmed cases in the County to date. 

The County estimates 7,193 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the County, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of June 29, as reported by the County; click here to visit page that is updated daily


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Crashing waves

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Big waves on Christmas Day


Former OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens dies following long battle with breast cancer

Former Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens died yesterday with her loved ones by her side following a long battle with breast cancer. Hutchens was Orange County’s 12th sheriff having served from 2008-2019.

Former OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

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Courtesy of OCSD

Sandra Hutchens

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of former Sheriff Sandra Hutchens,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “She took office at a difficult time. The public’s trust had been broken by the previous sheriff. Upon taking office, she immediately took action to put one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies back on track. She was a leader whose ethics matched the culture of the men and women of this department. She restored our pride, gave us back our dignity and rebuilt trust with the people we serve. She kept her oath, kept her promises, and ended her time in office leaving this agency better than when she started.”

“I will miss my dear friend Sheriff Sandra Hutchens,” said Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48). “In my role on the Orange County Board of Supervisors we worked very closely together. She dedicated her career to protecting Orange County families and keeping crime low. I am praying for her family.”

Hutchens was 66 years old. 

She was raised in Long Beach and following high school she was hired as a secretary for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. She then attended their Academy, graduating in 1978. Hutchens is also a graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in Public Administration and from the FBI Academy.

She is survived by her husband, Larry, a retired assistant police chief for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Barnes added, “In keeping with Sheriff Hutchens’ wishes, there will not be a memorial service. Her family has asked that donations be made in her name to Drug Use is Life Abuse (www.duila.org) or the Susan G. Komen Foundation (www.komen.org), two charities she actively supported while in office.”


Laguna COVID-19 matching grant relief fund for residents and employees has been launched

To provide direct financial assistance to individuals and employees living or working in Laguna Beach who have been impacted by COVID-19, the Laguna Beach City Council set aside a $300,000 matching grant for Phase 2 of the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund as part of the City’s $1.4 million in economic assistance for restaurants, bars, retail, and community members.

Launched yesterday, January 11, the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund, administered by the Laguna Beach Community Foundation (LBCF), will provide Emergency Assistance Mini-Grants up to a maximum of $1,000 per household to individuals living or working* in Laguna Beach, with emphasis on those in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, and personal services industries. 

All donations made to the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund are tax deductible and will be matched by the City of Laguna Beach up to $300,000. The fund has already pre-fundraised $30,000, which was matched by the City of Laguna Beach via check this week.

Mayor urges the community to help too

“Right now, we are in the darkest days of this pandemic and hundreds of local workers and residents have been laid off again,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. “They are stretched to the breaking point to pay their rent, keep their utilities turned on, and feed their families. 

“I urge our community to do what it always does in times of crisis, which is to rise to the challenge and raise $300,000 to match the City funds. Please dig deep and give what you can to help the cause.”

The Emergency Assistance Mini-Grants will be awarded to applicants consistent with the mission and focus of the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund. Applications will be reviewed by the Laguna Beach Community Foundation COVID-19 Fund Advisors and Community Committee, and grants will be awarded to support those most affected and in need.

Laguna Bob Whalen

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Mayor Bob Whalen encourages community support for the relief fund and the wearing of masks to reduce spread of the virus

“Our mission is to assist as many of our neighbors as we can during this pandemic by providing emergency assistance mini-grants to individuals and families to pay for the necessities of life,” said Tom Davis, chair of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation. “We want to thank the City of Laguna Beach for stepping up by providing up to $300,000 in matching funds for this program. It is up to the rest of us to raise the funds to meet this challenge.”

Once selected to receive assistance and financial support, payments will be received in the form of checks, gift cards, or other means as determined appropriate by the Fund Advisors. The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is partnering with the LBCF to provide practical assistance in the process of application submission and grant delivery.

Boys & Girls Club assists with implementation

“The Boys & Girls Club is proud to partner with the Laguna Beach Community Foundation and the City of Laguna Beach to help those who have been hit hardest by the economic impact of COVID,” said Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club. “The people we are helping make up the fabric of our community and have been there for all of us in good times. We are grateful to be able to be here for them when times are tough.” 

The Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund was formed in April 2020 to provide up to $1,000 to individuals living or working in Laguna Beach who had suffered hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the program’s first phase, $475,000 was distributed to 850 Laguna Beach residents and employees through the contributions of 75 individuals. 

“The City Council has approved a $300,000 matching grant to again provide for the City’s workers and residents as the pandemic has again forced businesses to close. We hope that those who are in a position to help will again contribute to the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund to help those in need,” said Bob Mister, co-chair of the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund.

To donate to the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund, click here or you may donate via PayPal.

You may also donate by sending checks to: Laguna COVID19 Relief Fund, 580 Broadway St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

For grant application information, visit the program’s website at www.lagunacovid19relief.com. For further questions, please call Tom Davis, Chair of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, at (949) 416-2822.

*Please note that City of Laguna Beach employees, appointed officials, and their immediate families are not eligible for the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund.


State of California moves County of Orange to Purple Tier effective immediately

Officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced yesterday that they ended the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifting the order for all regions statewide, including Southern California. Four-week intensive care unit (ICU) capacity projections for the Southern California Region are above 15 percent, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order.

This action allows all counties statewide to return to the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates and test positivity. As a result, the County of Orange was moved into the Purple Tier, the state’s most restrictive tier based on our current adjusted daily case rate and test positivity rate (seven-day average with seven-day lag). Services and activities, such as outdoor dining and personal services, may resume immediately with required modifications. 

CDPH has a list of Activity and Business Tiers that are open, closed, or open with modifications with respect to each county on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy website. Orange County residents can search for a business or activity type by visiting https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ and typing in “Orange” in the County field, entering the business or activity type, and clicking “GET LATEST STATUS.” 

Because case rates remain high across most of the state, the state’s Hospital Surge Order remains in place to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limits non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expires with the Regional Stay at Home Order ending. 

The Orange County Health Care Agency has also updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Orange County’s Health Officer’s Revised Orders and Strong Recommendations section of its website to reflect the new tier status. 

What Orange County Residents and Businesses Can Do 

There are several steps Orange County residents can do at this time:

1. Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine. 

For the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County, go to www.covidvaccinefacts.com. To register for COVID-19 vaccination at a Super POD site in Orange County, go to www.Othena.com. For questions about Othena, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2. Get Tested for COVID-19. 

The OC Health Care Agency officials are urging residents, especially those with any symptoms, to get tested for the virus.

COVID-19 testing is now widely available across the county for those who are symptomatic or asymptomatic, with or without insurance, at no cost. Testing takes only a few minutes and results generally come back within two to three days.

If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and let close contacts know. A close contact is someone you were within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period during the infectious period.

3. Stay Home if You Don’t Feel Well.

Consult with a health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the OC Health Care Agency’s Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448.

4. Stay Home When Possible. 

When you leave the house, avoid crowds and stay 6 feet apart from people not in your household.

5. Do Not Gather. 

Do not mix households. For example, it is strongly recommended that people don’t dine outdoors or gather for any activities with people not living in the same household.

6. Wear a Face Covering. 

Wear a face covering when you are around people not in your household, especially when indoors.

7. Wash Your Hands Often. 

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

8. Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth with Unwashed Hands.

9. Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces.

10. Understand and Comply with the State’s Guideline for Your Business and Events. 

For questions related to COVID-19, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).


Headhunter firm hired to assist in search for new city manager

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Retiring City Manager John Pietig announced on Saturday that the City Council in closed session had decided to hire an executive recruitment firm to assist in the selection of his successor.

The announcement to hire Bob Murray & Associates to conduct a comprehensive search as part of the process of hiring a new city manager was made at the beginning of a special City Council meeting. 

“This is one of the most important positions in the city and hiring a recruitment firm will allow us to thoroughly evaluate both internal and external candidates for the city manager position,” said Mayor Bob Whalen. 

“We had an excellent experience with this recruiting firm in our recent search for a new general manager for the water district and the council is confident that this will be a well-run and comprehensive search.

“We are hopeful of making a final selection in May.”

Headhunter firm Pietig

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Courtesy of City of LB

City Manager John Pietig will be retiring in June

Pietig said two Zoom meetings will be held to gather community input and a survey will be conducted as part of the recruitment process. 

Bob Murray & Associates has been involved in executive searches for more than 20 years and has completed more than 60 successful city manager recruitments in California in the past five years, according to the press release issued Saturday afternoon. 

The city will pay $26,000 for the company’s services, Pietig said.

Councilmember Peter Blake voted against the decision to hire a recruitment firm because he thinks the best candidate already works for the city. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the company recommends Shohreh Dupuis as the best candidate for the job of Laguna Beach City Manager,” said Blake on Sunday. “We have had five years to get to know her strengths. 

“I don’t believe she will stay as assistant city manager under a new city manager. Many other communities would love to have her as a city manager. 

“The search won’t be concluded until May. John is leaving in June.”

Blake said the city could be faced with a new city manager and a new assistant city manager with just one month to get a handle on the difficult job of running the city.


After community pitches in to help with heart surgery, Elmar Silzer is back in the game

By DIANNE RUSSELL

According to Wendy Crimp, a close friend of 72-year-old Elmar Silzer, you couldn’t go anywhere in Laguna during the last five decades without spotting him. So embedded was Silzer in the local culture, he was a regular fixture at concerts, venues, restaurants, and happenings.

It’s no surprise that since he’s been in Laguna so long, he knows a lot of people, and everyone knows him, he says.

Until heart problems halted his activities, residents have likely seen him riding his bike around town with his tennis racket on his back. He also surfs and was very active before his condition was diagnosed.

With the generous help of the community, he was able to have surgery last September to fix a faulty heart valve, and now he’s back on the courts playing tennis seven days a week. 

Condition diagnosed

Four years ago, while playing tennis, Silzer noticed he was slowing down. “I hadn’t been to the doctor in 40 years,” he says. “I never felt the need.

“The doctor found an irregular heartbeat. I started deteriorating and stopped playing tennis. I realized I was setting myself up for a major heart attack and that I had played Russian Roulette for too long. I didn’t have a choice, because the longer I waited, the more irreversible the damage might get.”

Adding to his anxiety was the knowledge that both his father and brother died of heart attacks – his father at 55 and his brother at 52.

Considering his family history, one wonders why he put off surgery so long. “I wasn’t afraid of the operation, I was afraid the operation could disable me – I’m very active,” he says. “Or that it wouldn’t cure the condition.”

Financial concerns

Then there was the financial issue.

Although he had Medicare to cover the in-hospital expenses, he required assistance with medical expenses not covered by Medicare. In addition, he was struggling with a loss of income due to his pre-operative physical deterioration and needed support for a couple of weeks post-op.

When the community learned of his plight, residents immediately responded,  and his GoFundMe reached $15,000.

Crimp says, “Since his surgery, he is grateful for all that the community did to support him during his time of need! He calls all of you ‘his angels.’” 

After community Elmar

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Elmar at Main Beach, one of his favorite places

At the beginning of last year, Elmar says, “I had pneumonia, but then I didn’t know how I would supply myself with the basics. The donations from the community really lifted my spirits, and I went on to feel that whatever happened, the operation would have a good outcome.”

“Crimp, a highly qualified nurse and friend for 30 years, pushed me in the right direction,” he says. “I just marvel at the whole process – the thanks belongs to the doctors and to everyone involved in helping me. My focus now is to take the fear out of it and inspire people.”

Mary Smith, another longtime friend, was also instrumental in the process.

Coming to the U.S. and Laguna

In 1969, he immigrated to the U.S. from Germany thanks to an aerospace sponsor. “I didn’t know what was waiting for me,” he admits.

Then one day in 1974, a friend of his said, “Let’s go to Laguna Beach.”

Silzer remembers it vividly. “We were driving down Laguna Canyon Road, and when we rounded the corner at Big Bend, even before I saw the ocean, it got me,” he says. “In 1980, I stopped traveling throughout the world in the racing business as a pit crew supervisor at Le Mans, Grand Prix, and Daytona. It was exhausting.”

For 10 years – during which time he was married and divorced – he ran a Mercedes-Benz restoration business in the canyon on Sun Valley Drive. He also patented several inventions for automobile parts but has been retired for the last 20 years.

“I was there working 24/7,” he admits. “I decided time was more important than income.” 

Back in the game

Only five months after the heart valve repair, and without any lingering side effects, Silzer says, “I’m back to 95 percent.” 

Referring to the long zipper-like scar on his chest, he harkens back to his days as a supervisor for pit crews. “They opened up the hood and cleaned it up.”

Giving credit to his fantastic surgeons at Hoag Hospital – Dr. Anthony D. Ciattarelli and Dr. Darel J. Beuveuati – Silzer recouped quickly. “I had no pain, and I never took a pain pill. I’m a little shy of meds.” 

Post-surgery, he only takes a daily baby aspirin.

After seven days in the hospital, he was transferred to a nursing home. “It was good,” he says. “It kept me from doing things too early.”

His daughter, who went to the Laguna College of Art and Design, was there for him during the entire ordeal, but she will soon be moving to Washington. 

“We’re very close,” he says.

Regarding the support from the community, Silzer adds, “I’m really grateful and stunned. It’s unreal that I got a chance to squeeze out a few more years.”

It seems he’s taking full advantage of that chance – he’s leaving soon for an RV trip down to Baja to surf. “I love Baja. There are magic things there – the emptiness with no media. 

“Reality is very different now. The journey has been incredible. I minimized everything that’s not essential. Right now I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.”


COVID-19: 81 new cases and 11 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,755 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 11 new deaths reported yesterday (April 1). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 250,764 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.1 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 131 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-10 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 22 are in ICU (-4 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 821 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including four new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 243,032 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 1, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 90 new cases and 6 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,761 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including six new deaths reported today (April 2). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 250,854 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.1 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 118 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-13 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 23 are in ICU (+1 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 823 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and six new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 243,165 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 2, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 248 new cases and 7 new deaths reported in OC, 1 new case in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,768 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including seven new deaths reported today (April 3). There have been seven deaths of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reported 248 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 251,102 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.8 percent. 72 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 109 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-9 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 23 are in ICU (+0 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 824 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, including one new case reported today and seven new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 243,222 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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COVID 19 County 4 3 21 3

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on April 3, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: County reports 779 additional cases today, “elevated disease transmission,” “increasing hospitalization,” and “limited hospital capacity”

OC Health Care Agency has reported 779 additional cases of COVID-19 in the County today, June 30, marking the highest single-day increase of reported cases to date.

According to the County, OC is experiencing “elevated disease transmission,” “increasing hospitalization,” and “limited hospitalization” – with a 9.7 percent change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients. The County reports a total of 13,843 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the County reports that 340 people have died due to COVID-19, including 10 new deaths received today. There have been no deaths of Laguna Beach residents.

175 of those who have died were skilled nursing facility residents; three were individuals experiencing homelessness.

The County reports that 510 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (includes ICU); 176 are in ICU.

Laguna Beach has had 61 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of two cases today, a per capita rate of 2.612 cases per thousand residents. 

Santa Ana has had 2,850 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 116 cases today, and 89 deaths. Anaheim has had 2,591 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 128 cases today, and 84 deaths. Newport Beach has had 295 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 23 cases today, and two deaths. Irvine has had 287 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 22 cases today, and five deaths. Dana Point has had 54 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of two cases today, and no deaths.

The age group with the most confirmed cases is 25-34 years old, accounting for 2,943 of the total confirmed cases in the County to date. 

The County estimates 7,423 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the County, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of June 30, as reported by the County; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Community and family remember Walter von Gremp and his legacy 

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Although Walter von Gremp has always been known by residents as the founder of Sally’s Fund, he’s also been described as Laguna’s Pied Piper, fiercely loyal to his employees, a highly sought-after attendee at social gatherings, and by close friend Arnie Silverman, “one of the most generous men I ever knew.”

Sadly, he passed away last Saturday at the age of 92.

Husband to Ann for 64 years, he was the father of four sons – Tom, Bill, Jim, and Andrew – and daughter Katie, and grandfather to nine. 

Walt and Ann were quite proud that their children were able to be there for each other. Their sons Jim and Andrew acquired many properties “west of the 405,” and for Andrew, that time was more fulfilling than he’d imagined. 

Their eldest son Tom says, “Andrew gave me his DNA in a bone marrow transplant he went through when not running the rental units – 21 surprising years ago.” 

Walter and Ann were married in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1956. According to his family, she was his devoted caretaker for the last ten years while he was confined to bed. As a symbol of his love for her, he had a statue of a woman holding an infant placed across the street from the Post Office on Forest Ave.

Community Walter closeup

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Walter von Gremp

Both von Gremps were extremely active in the community for many years. Ann continues to live in Laguna among family and friends and until last year served as treasurer of Sally’s Fund. Walter was voted Patriots Day Parade Citizen of the Year in 1992, served as president of Little League for two consecutive years, was the originator of what became the Shaw’s Cove Yacht Club, and, of course, was the founder of Sally’s Fund. He also contributed to multiple causes and organizations such as the local VFW.

Walter was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, while his father was a captain in the army. Tom says, “Back then, the military moved them around every five years, so my grandfather left the service, and they relocated to the West Coast.”

In 1940, eleven-year-old Walter lived in Los Angeles with his father Walter and mother Sally.

Walter attended UCLA and after spending time in Brentwood, moved to the San Fernando Valley. The von Gremps continued to support UCLA and in 1988, the von Gremp Workshop in Economic History graduate degree program was inaugurated.

In 1977, from a bedroom in their San Fernando Valley home, Walter started an insurance company which ultimately turned into a 12-and-a-half-million-dollar company with 125 employees.

However, in the beginning, the original company was very much family run.

Community Walter and family

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Walter and Ann with family

Tom says, “I was president and my mom was chairman of the board. She was the power behind the throne. In 1982, my family decided to leave the San Fernando Valley and moved to Laguna Beach. We had a small office above Reef Liquor. Then my father built an office on South Coast Hwy – across the street from what is now Mozambique – and we had 100 employees. It was wonderful to be able to work with him there. Then he built another building in Laguna Hills, and 95 percent of the employees continued with him.”

At the time, his business was the largest privately owned company in Laguna. Walter sold it to a Chicago-based company in 1996, and he retired in 1997.

“He really looked out for his employees,” says Tom. “It was very important to him that the people who worked for him in Laguna Beach would be taken care of. When he sold, he made certain that the employees were guaranteed a contract for three years.”

Successful and astute as a businessman, Walter had a fun side too, his family and friends attest.

Community Walter in tuxedo

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A black tie affair 

“Every afternoon at a certain time, weather permitting, he’d go down to Shaw’s Cove, and he and a bunch of his friends would play gin rummy,” says Tom. “It became the Shaw’s Cove Yacht Club, and they even had a flag. My parents were very well liked and would be invited to all the social gatherings, and sometimes I’d tag along.”

In an accompanying remembrance piece, Arnie Silverman talks about another group at the Coffee Pub, where Walter was also the leader. 

Tom says, “They would meet there at the Coffee Pub every day to talk and pretend they ran the world.”

Walter’s granddaughter Ashley shares a memory, “He was a wonderful and caring grandfather to all of his grandchildren, always ready with a huge hug and a silly joke. Christmas won’t be the same without his annual, very animated reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. And no one had a memory like my Granddad…he could tell you a story from any point in his life, remembering every street name and every detail, making all of the tales he told so rich and full, keeping you on the edge of your seat!” 

Community Walter and Sally

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Walter with his mother Sally

Of all his legacies in the community, the most well-known is Sally’s Fund. 

Walter’s son Jim and his wife Steph maintain positions on the Sally’s Fund board and continue Walter’s efforts for the nonprofit, which meant so much to him. 

Tom says, “Liz Breem is in charge of making certain all the ‘I’s’ are dotted.”

Considered a vital part of the community, Sally’s Fund was founded in 1982 when several local community members realized how many seniors were being forced into institutional living because of a lack of transportation. Walter was moved to take action after reading stories in the local paper detailing the struggle some of his neighbors had while trying to stay in their homes. 

Realizing the need was even greater than initially thought, Walter and Ann provided “significant financial support” to the organization, which was able to hire some part-time employees as a result. This new, more formal organization became Sally’s Fund, named in honor of Walter’s mother who had recently died. It became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity in 1986.

Before the pandemic, every year there was a home tour fundraiser at Emerald Bay. 

“The bridge between isolation and community” is how Rachael Berger, Sally’s Fund managing director, describes the work her organization does for seniors. 

Which is exactly what Walter achieved during his long and productive life – he brought comfort and connection to lonely seniors, and joy to his family and friends. He will be missed.


Wave of Change has something in the cards for seniors this February

Inspired by Mother Teresa’s words: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples,” Meldie Moore of Moore Law for Children started a Wave of Change last September, where every month she and her staff find a way to give back to our community. 

“My hope is that each ripple created will come together to create of wave of change for the better,” Moore says. “This month, inspired by Valentine’s Day, I want to touch the lives of our most vulnerable population with some heartfelt love.”

Send love to isolated seniors

Approximately 28,000 older and disabled adults live in 1,100 long-term care facilities in Orange County. Approximately 50 percent, or 14,000, have no friend or family member actively involved in their care. 

Moore notes that the pandemic has severely impacted seniors in long-term care both in terms of contracting the virus and deaths. As a result, long-term care facilities have limited or eliminated visits from family members and friends. Seniors are living and dining alone in their rooms, unless they are fortunate enough to have a roommate. 

Wave of cards

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Cards for seniors

“Imagine living in the same room, day after day, since the pandemic began back in March of last year,” Moore says. “These seniors who were isolated before are now more isolated than ever. Please join us in our Valentine’s Day card project to make an impact in letting these lonely seniors know they are valued, loved, and not forgotten.”

Moore adds that this is a great project to do with one’s kids or grandkids, with important lessons to be gained: the value in helping others. The realization as hard as this is for us, it’s harder for others. That there is something we can all do to make a difference. 

“So, get out those art and craft supplies,” she urges. “Do something different and meaningful this weekend. Give the kids a break from their screens and let them use their creativity to send love to others.”

The Laguna Beach Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as the students in Laguna Beach schools as part of their own “Wave of Kindness” week, have already volunteered to participate. But with 14,000 seniors and disabled adults who have no one in their lives, Moore stresses that Wave of Change needs all the help it can get.

Wave of Grant

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Grant Wilson with the cards he’s made so far 

“We are working with the Council on Aging whose Ombudsmen will ensure that every card made is delivered to an isolated senior in a long-term care facility,” she says.

Instructions to make cards for Valentine’s Day

--Get creative.

--No envelopes are needed.

--Do not sign the cards, as that can confuse the seniors if they get a card from someone they don’t know.

--Deliver to Moore Law for Children by February 8.

Moore Law for Children’s address is 361 Forest Avenue, Suite 201 (2nd floor), Laguna Beach, 92651.

For answers to your questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 336-7711

Moore welcomes photos of cards through email to post on their Facebook page, and suggests participants follow on Facebook to see their progress. 

“From all of us to all of you, may you feel loved and valued and remain healthy and safe,” she adds.


Remembering Laguna legend Al Roberts

By DIANNE RUSSELL

According to Ken Jillson, Al Robert’s partner for 50 year