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Author Archive for Ann Christoph

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Where does asparagus come from?

Where does asparagus come from?

Not quite so hard to answer as the question about babies, but it was surprising how many of the adults at our recent South Laguna Community Garden workshop were amazed when we handed them an asparagus spear and said we had just cut it.  “From where?”  “It’s a sprout that grows right out of the […]

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Defending a Laguna Legacy

Defending a Laguna Legacy

It was not a dark and stormy night, but it was night and I was here on my sofa with my laptop in May of 2012 and an unexpected message came up on my email, “Hello Ann, I read one of your articles recently, regarding Stonehenge in Laguna Beach. My family and I were shocked […]

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Protecting Nature’s Fragile Wonder

Protecting Nature’s Fragile Wonder

On a farm the kitchen is a combination office, staging area and coffee shop and I was enjoying being at this hub of my brother’s Nevada dairy. In came Alex, his partner, straight from spraying the cornfield.  “What did you spray it with?” the gardener in me wondered.  “Roundup,” he replied matter-of-factly. “But won’t that […]

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Signs of Discord

Signs of Discord

“If we all speak softly, everyone can be heard.”  Besides being good advice for democracy and human relations in general, this phrase from former mayor Dan Kenney was specifically applied to signs, the issue he focused on during his terms on the city council, 1982-1990. Kenney saw that without controls, competitive sign making had the […]

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Economic Upturn

Economic Upturn

  Dateline Laguna Beach: On Monday, Jan. 13, as the South Laguna Civic Association board went over the agenda of proposed nearby projects, President Bill Rihn announced, “The 2008 great recession is officially over!”  The Obama administration will be notified immediately. Economic indicators have been erected in our neighborhood in the form of two by […]

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Village Matters

Village Matters

Life-changing Christmas By Ann Christoph For all you kids out there whose parents won’t let you have your own phone, or the latest computer game—I’m here to put that in perspective.  I not only had to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways, but our family was the last in my class to […]

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Village Matters: Thanks for the Example

Village Matters: Thanks for the Example

As I was riding my exercise bike Sunday evening I tuned in to Bill Moyers’ interview with Wendell Berry. How have I missed knowing of this inspiring man?  Now nearly 80 years old, Berry is a novelist and poet, environmental advocate, farmer and professor.  At age 30 he left his teaching position in New York […]

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Village Matters: A Message From the Sky

Village Matters: A Message From the Sky

It was the day after the 1993 fire. There were fragments blowing in the wind. Half burned pieces of paper, part of someone’s life, fluttered down like sooty snowflakes.  In the parking lot behind my office, I picked up one of them. There it said, “Reason” in large type. It was part of a headline. […]

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Village Matters: Landscape of Legend

Village Matters: Landscape of Legend

We could trace the development of the town through the eyes of Laguna’s plein air painters, Kleitsch adding color, Hinkle subduing the landscape with white and black.  Still the landscape was predominant as the buildings were fitted in and plantings made the cottages home. These plein air landscapes—views of canyons, mountains, village, coastline and ocean […]

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Village Matters: Flickering Memories Illuminate Future

Village Matters: Flickering Memories Illuminate Future

  It was the early ‘70s and neighbor Ralph Davis pleaded with the Orange County Planning Commission, “Remember the Bel Air fire!” Somehow he had been there, perhaps as a firefighter.  Ridge and hill top development above South Laguna was being considered by the Commission. Davis was emphatic, “Ridge tops are in the most danger […]

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Village Matters: Urban Messiah

Village Matters: Urban Messiah

At last week’s hearing about the village entrance there were repeated calls for hiring an urban designer.  Someone who can lead us out of the morass of our own lack of consensus.  Someone from somewhere else who has designed award-winning complexes all over the world.  An urban messiah who can organize Laguna Beach and solve […]

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Village Matters: Thoughtful slow down

Village Matters: Thoughtful slow down

  Feb. 13, 1953 a Laguna Beach police officer, Gordon G. French, was shot in the line of duty and died en route to the Santa Ana Hospital. This tragic, presumably preventable, death was the catalyst for building South Coast Community Hospital.  The community formed a corporation dedicated to funding and operating a hospital and […]

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Village Matters: A Resource as Precious as Yosemite

Village Matters: A Resource as Precious as Yosemite

Ever feel like an anachronism?  Out of place, out of step with those around you?  As we see the community around us bit by bit losing the charming features that mark the best of our town, we may feel out of sync and ask, “Do we still belong here?” This weekend on Ken Burns “National […]

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Village Matters: Let Nature Sing

Village Matters: Let Nature Sing

Ever wonder why Laguna Beach became an art colony?  Yes, it’s beautiful but there’s more to it than that. The artists who sought out Laguna around the turn of the last century came not just to paint pretty pictures, but to experience and express their beliefs about the spirituality of nature.  Laguna Beach in its isolation, […]

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Village Matters: Why aren’t we the happiest place?

Village Matters: Why aren’t we the happiest place?

  We’re not even in the top 14 happiest places nationwide, according to a University of Vermont study that correlated cities across the country with the numbers of positive and negative words in millions of tweets. San Clemente is among California’s seven happiest cities, but not Laguna Beach.  What does San Clemente have that we […]