Men arrested after Christmas trees set on fire
A Mission Viejo man and an Aliso Viejo man were arrested around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 12 after police received reports that five Christmas trees had been set on fire on Myrtle Street, Rose Place and Hawthorne Drive.
Residents reported to police that they saw young men running away from the scene toward High Street.
Joel Thomas Uzelac, 20, and Sean Tyler Christiansen, 21, were arrested in the 500 block of Cypress Drive. They are both charged with conspiracy and arson for reportedly lighting the trees on the fire, which were set by the curb to be picked up by trash collectors.
Pipeline repairs cause traffic to trickle
Traffic in downtown was tied up Wednesday due to a water pipeline that required emergency repairs.
Renae Hinchey, general manager at the Laguna Beach County Water District, said that crews went in about 8 p.m. Tuesday night to look at a fire hydrant that wasn’t working properly on South Coast Highway at Forest Avenue.
During the excavation, workers realized that a flange, the lip at the end of a pipe, was leaking water. The flange was connected to the main water line.
They also discovered a smaller leak on a lateral pipeline that was connected to the hydrant.
Hinchey said what started out as a planned repair turned into an emergency operation.
The northbound lane of South Coast Highway was closed off during repairs, which affected traffic. A traffic signal also went out, and Laguna Beach police assisted in directing traffic, she said.
Hinchey said that the Water District tries to do all repairs at night in an effort to not impact traffic, but a negative outcome outweighed that concern Wednesday.
If not repaired, she said, the main line could break, causing flooding, mud and debris to enter the roadway.
All work was projected to be finished by 5 a.m. Friday.
Council denies multiple claims at meeting
The City Council on Jan. 10 denied a claim filed by attorneys Peter M. Williamson and Robert N. Ives on behalf of resident Marilyn Injeyan.
Injeyan claims she was manhandled by police, who entered her home on June 4, 2011, with a warrant issued in connection with a crime committed in town.
Police allegedly handcuffed Injeyan, 71 at the time, with sufficient force to tear her left rotator cuff, for which she underwent surgery, she claims.
The claimant is asking for a total of $290,000 to cover medical expenses, compensatory damage for pain, physical and mental suffering, humiliation, fear of imminent bodily harm, mortification and emotional anxiety.
Three other claims of $10 million each also were denied by the council.
The claims were filed by Steven Smith, Deborah Smith and Paul Smith, each citing the emotional distress and negligence by the Laguna Beach Police Department in the investigation of the disappearance of a family member and his possible murder.
— Joanna Clay and Barbara Diamond