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Briefly In The News






On Sunday, a crowd of enthusiastic gardeners, friends and donors partied to the tunes of the Garden Band, consisting of Tom Joliet, Tony Bisson and Denise Bennett. Mayor Toni Iseman and Councilwoman Verna Rollinger joined in celebrating the completion of the lower portion of the garden.

Now there are 53 raised planting beds, with the end of the fall harvest squashes and the promise of winter vegetables coming on. Recognized donors included Steve and Liza Stewart of Stewarts Landscape, Ruben Flores of Laguna Nursery, landscape architect Ann Christoph, and representatives of Butler Box and Stake and the South Coast Water District.

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Mission Hospital names new CEO

Kenneth McFarland will take over as Mission Hospital’s new president and chief executive, according to a news release.

McFarland has served Mission Hospital in leadership roles since 1998, most recently as the interim CEO since May.

“Kenn has a great deal of knowledge about the region and possesses a proven track record of envisioning and carrying out numerous efforts that effectively meet community health care needs,” Darrin Montalvo, executive vice president, Southern California Region, St. Joseph Health System, said in a prepared statement. “I am confident that with Kenn’s keen insight and exceptional skills, Mission Hospital will continue to lead as a trusted, high quality health care partner for South Orange County residents. “

McFarland joined Mission Hospital as its chief financial officer and guided teams to develop programs and services that improve community health care. He led the hospital’s implementation of an electronic medical record, which would help increase the efficiency and accuracy of care.

Additionally, he developed the Mission Viejo site’s master plan and, in 2009, was instrumental in buying the former South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach. Under McFarland’s leadership, Mission introduced several new services to the facility and secured its financial stability.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an organization that is so committed to serving its communities,” McFarland said in a prepared statement. “My goal is to ensure Mission Hospital continues to be a good neighbor and premier health provider to South County individuals and families.”



City studying whether to start CERT program

The city’s Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee and the Laguna Beach Police Department are looking into starting a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The CERT program is designed to teach skills to be better prepared during and, after a disaster, to aid public safety efforts.

The Police Department is seeking CERT members who received their training in another community, but who work or reside in Laguna Beach. Contact Lt. Darin Lenyi at or (949) 497-0750, ext. 230.

If CERT is implemented, the program will be announced on the city’s website and in local media.


City Manager’s Weekly Update


The most recent flood plain mapping done by the Federal Emergency Management Agency increased the number of homes in Canyon Acres that are within the mapped 100-year flood plain, City Manager John Pietig wrote in his weekly update of Nov. 11. Those property owners have been required to buy flood insurance.

The FEMA study did not take into consideration the Canyon Acres storm drain the city constructed two years ago.

In March, the City Council authorized a $26,000 engineering study to revise the flood plain mapping.

The revised map prepared by Harris & Associates was submitted to FEMA in September and has been approved. The revised map removes all homes from the 100-year flood plain. The new map will become effective March 12.

On Nov. 3, Officers Abe Ocampo, James Michaud, Luke Gilbertson and Matt Gregg were recognized for completing police training and their probationary periods, Pietig wrote.

Gregg worked as a civilian employee for 10 years at the Garden Grove Police Department.

Gilbertson has experience with two other Orange County police departments and served as a civilian beach patrol officer and part-time jailer with the Laguna Beach Police Department.

During the police academy, Ocampo received the Director’s Award for demonstrating a high level of character, maturity and professionalism.

Michaud graduated from the academy in the top of the class and was awarded the Returning Combat Veterans Scholarship.


—Jamie Rowe


Twitter: @jamierowe3