Briefly In The News

Laguna wins whale tail Mayor's Challenge

Laguna Beach has been declared the winner in the Mayor's Challenge from the California Coastal Commission.

The contest pitted Laguna against Dana Point and Santa Monica to see which city's residents could buy the most new whale tail license plates, which were designed in part by Laguna Beach artist Bill Atkins.

Laguna has been promoting the plate sales through decals on area transit system buses.

"I'm excited that Laguna Beach won!" Mayor Toni Iseman said in a statement. "It was great fun to participate in this friendly challenge and to support the California Coastal Commission (CCC) in their educational programs initiative."


A week dedicated to fire prevention

Fire Prevention Week is Sunday through Oct. 15, and the Laguna Beach Fire Department is encouraging residents to come up with a plan in case of a house fire.

Firefighters will also visit local schools throughout October to help educate on fire safety and emergency preparedness.

On Oct. 15, the public is invited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to tour any of Laguna's four fire stations, meet firefighters and ask questions.

For more information, call (949) 497-0700.


Mammal center benefits raise more than $80K

Two recent benefits for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center have netted thousands of dollars to help keep the center's animal care and education efforts going.

The Marine Mammal Cabaret on Sept. 25 at the Aliso Creek Inn brought in more than $77,000, according to a news release.

Melissa Sciacca, the center's director of development and marketing, called the fundraiser the most successful in the organization's history.

Sundried Tomato Café celebrated its 10th anniversary Sept. 18 with a four-course dinner that benefited the center. More than 50 people attended, and the event raised $3,240. The night included a raffle that featured gift baskets donated by the Blow Salon and Spa.


Spots open on board, committee

The City Council is accepting applications for the Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board and the Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee, according to news releases from the city.

The Board of Adjustment has five members appointed by the council to look at requests for variances from the zoning code. Members also sit on the Design Review Board. The appointment comes with a two-year term.

The Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee works with the council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Relief and Resource Center to prepare and get organized in case of a disaster.

Residents interested in applying may find the application online at or at the city clerk's office, 505 Forest Ave. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Oct. 11. Applicants will be interviewed at the Oct. 18 City Council meeting. For more information, call (949) 497-0705.


Oceana event nets more than $900,000

About 400 guests attended the fourth annual SeaChange Summer Party held in Laguna Beach on Oct. 1.

The event raised more than $900,000 for Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation group, according to a news release.

Celebrities, including hosts Angela Kinsey and Ted Danson, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley Jr., attended the party, which was held in a private coastal villa.

"We are all here tonight out of love for our oceans, her bounty that feeds us, her beauty and her power that give us true awe," Lane said at the event. " … It's up to us to be proactive, ambitious, far-reaching, deep-reaching in our pockets, demanding the changes in policies, lobbying for tougher laws and enforcing these changes with some teeth."

The evening included dinner, dancing, a live auction and presentations from Oceana directors and supporters.


Center completes assistance for flood victims

The Laguna Relief and Resource Center recently announced it has finished distributing funds set aside for the victims of the December flood.

"For the past nine months, the center has distributed more than $220,000 of community donations to individuals and families who were victims of this disaster," board chairman Andy Siegenfeld said in a statement.

The center thanked residents and groups that donated time and money to help those in need, including Ann Quilter, who was in charge of the flood relief effort; Tony Ciabattoni, who contributed $100,000 to the fund; Mission Hospital Laguna Beach; and No Square Theatre, which helped raised almost $30,000, according to a news release from the center.

For more information on the center, call Siegenfeld at (949) 887-3332 or email or visit

—Kelly Parker

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