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Top 10 stories of 2010

Last year was a big one for Laguna, with stories about the election, ASL, the marine reserve and more hitting these pages.

January 13, 2011|By Cindy Frazier and Barbara Diamond
  • Jessica Good-Man walks with her dog through thick mud left behind after a flash flood ripped down St. Annes Street on the leg below Laguna High School.
Jessica Good-Man walks with her dog through thick mud… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

The year 2010 was an eventful and colorful year in Laguna Beach, but no one was prepared for the year to end on a note of disaster. Here are the Coastline Pilot's top 10 news stories of the year.

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Flood

Lagunans ended 2010 awash in mud and debris after a seven-day spate of rain culminated in an intense downpour early Dec. 22 that overflowed Laguna Creek, sending four feet of water surging onto downtown streets. Rain totals in the city were measured at 10 inches from the seven-day event.

Damage is still being assessed, but the most recent estimates from the city of Laguna Beach indicate $12.3 million in damage to more than 180 private and public properties, including $5.6 million in lost inventory due to flooding of the downtown business district.

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter sustained $800,000 in damage; Anneliese's School had $900,000 in damage; the Main Beach lifeguard tower and Boardwalk had $250,000 in damage; and a police evidence facility located to the rear of City Hall sustained $100,000 in damage.

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Most downtown businesses reopened within days after a heavy cleanup, but some canyon establishments remain closed and many of the city's most prominent artists lost belongings and work space. A total of 71 businesses or commercial structures were damaged.

The Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition coordinated assistance for those who lost their belongings or needed shelter. A total of 18 families were identified as in dire need of assistance, with 91 homes sustaining moderate to severe damage. Ann Quilter, who survived a "killer" mudslide in the canyon in 1998, was named coordinator of relief efforts.

In response to the damage, city officials opened the ACT V parking lot for refuse and debris and waived counter permit fees to expedite repairs to damaged properties until the end of January. A meeting was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Susi Q Senior Center for a presentation regarding finance, insurance, low interest loans and landlord/tenant responsibilities in disaster situations.

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Marine Reserve

After two years of meetings and a series of contentious hearings, the California Fish and Game Commission approved a citywide marine reserve with a "no take" designation for Laguna Beach on Dec. 15.

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