Briefly In The News

New assistant city manager named

Christa Johnson has been appointed assistant city manager, according to City Manager John Pietig.

She will start Sept. 6. She is taking over the position previously held by Pietig.

Johnson comes to Laguna after spending the last five years as the assistant town manager for Windsor, north of Santa Rosa. She has also been assistant to the city manager of Alameda, near Oakland.

She received a bachelor's degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara and a master's degree in public administration from San Francisco State. She and her husband, Carl, have two children.


Friends of Newport Coast closes up

Friends of the Newport Coast has been dissolved, according to a letter from the nonprofit group to supporters.

Its board of directors voted in June to disband. Over its 35-year history, the group has helped protect almost 80% of the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

"It is not often that a nonprofit organization has completed its mission and is able to step into the history books," Fern Pirkle, president of Friends of the Newport Coast, said in the letter. "We believe we have done so and the time is right."

Friends of Newport Coast was formed in 1976, and its main goal was to preserve public open space and protect natural wildlife habitat, according to the letter.


9/11 sculpture dedication is planned

Artist Jorg Dubin's sculpture "Semper Memento" will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Sept. 11 at Monument Point in Heisler Park.

The sculpture was made from two of the steel beams from the World Trade Center. The beams were donated to Laguna Beach from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Their transport to Laguna and installation was funded through a donation by Laguna Beach resident Mark Porterfield.

The sculpture was created as memorial of the 9/11 attacks, the 10th anniversary of which is this year.

For more information, contact Cultural Arts Manager Siân Poeschl at (949) 497-0722 or


Clinic director elected coalition president

Dr. Tom Bent of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic has been elected president of the board of directors of the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers.

The coalition was created in 1974 to offer support for the independent medical clinics of Orange County.

Bent is also the medical director and chief operating officer of the Community Clinic. He has been with the clinic since 1982 and became director in 2002.


Grant application deadline is Sept. 23

Time is running out to submit grant applications for the 2011 Laguna Beach Community Foundation Grants Program.

The deadline is Sept. 23.

Grants of up to $10,000 will be considered for core operations; capacity building; capital projects and equipment; programs and projects; and staff training, according to a news release from the foundation.

Eligible organizations must be nonprofits with tax-exempt status.

For more information about the grant guidelines or to fill out the online application, visit


Business workshops slated over the next year

"Open for Business" workshops hosted by the city will be held periodically through June.

The next workshop, which is for business owners or others interested in opening or expanding business in Laguna Beach, will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Community Center, 380 Third St.

Last year's workshops resulted in several new businesses coming to town. Future workshops are scheduled for Nov. 17, Feb. 16, April 19 and June 21.

"Many prospective business people want to discuss their issues before they initiate formal applications with the city," Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson said in a news release. "Just discussing their concerns and issues informally seems to help."

For more information, contact Principal Planner Monica Tuchscher at (949) 497-0745 or


Asada hosts event to benefit nonprofits

New Mexican restaurant Asada will play host to an open house/end-of-summer celebration Sept. 6, with all proceeds going to benefit the Friendship Shelter and the Laguna Beach Community Foundation's 2011 Grants Program.

Asada owner Scott McIntosh and chef Andres are preparing a selection of fresh, sustainable seafood and Asada's signature dishes.

There are two seatings — from 6 to 8 p.m. and from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person. Reservations are limited; call (949) 494-1055 or email

Asada is at 480 S. Coast Hwy.


Residents on top of their recycling game

The city of Laguna Beach is recycling more waste than ever, according to City Manager John Pietig's newsletter.

A report submitted to the state shows that the city has maintained an all-time high recycling diversion rate of 70%. Residents are using the free curbside recycling program on a regular basis and requested more than 2,000 free bulky item pickups in 2010, according to Pietig.

Also, 80% of businesses and multifamily complexes utilize recycling containers provided for free from Waste Management.

— Kelly Parker

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