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Author Archive for Ann Christoph

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Village Matters

Village Matters

Lessons in Kindness Cultivating kindness is a goal of Anaheim’s Mayor Tom Tait. We may not think of this urbanized town in that light, but as a way of improving their community from the inside out, the city embraced his initiative to promote kindness and encourage volunteers to share their time and talent as a […]

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Village Matters

Village Matters

Big Plans vs. Small Adjustments… “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…” Daniel Burnham.  This advice from one of the designers of the Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, may have been taken too seriously by our governmental policy makers.  Big projects have been proposed in Laguna Beach, time after time, […]

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Village Matters

Village Matters

Back in the ‘80s Back in the ‘80s. That phrase seems so strange to me, having grown up with references to old times like “before the war (WWII)” or “back in the ‘50s.” Now here was a “young” man (who must have been about 40 if he was talking about being a kid in the […]

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Shouldn’t Everyone Have One?

Shouldn’t Everyone Have One?

  Everyone has something to give, but what do they leave behind? A legacy of some kind, perhaps just a moment of kindness. As I was walking by the bus bench near my office I encountered a thin bearded man who I have heard several times ranting about his troubles with the police. A conversation […]

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Wistfully Wondering

Wistfully Wondering

  “You too, could have gone down a different path,” I thought to myself. In “The Road Not Taken” Robert Frost muses about different choices and the idea of another chance at a decision, “Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Still, every once in awhile we […]

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Breathe in, Breathe out

Breathe in, Breathe out

“Homeowners association” are words that bring to mind frustrating meetings, uninformed opinions leading groups astray, enforcement of the covenants, conditions and restrictions as well as the pet peeves of board members, snippy and put-upon hired managers. There is often a hostile audience of homeowners trying to get their “rights” upheld and their neighbors to do […]

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 Scrape or Savor

Scrape or Savor

“They scraped it,” my neighbor told me at Willa’s garden party. That was the first I knew that the Stonehenge house was actually being demolished. We tried very hard to prevent that demolition, but lost. Still, I thought, maybe something will intervene; maybe the owner would even reconsider. Now it is the flat vacant lot […]

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Beyond Expectations

Beyond Expectations

  Most people bring a casserole or a salad to a potluck, but Loraine Hollingsworth of Laguna Canyon brought cactus pads (nopales) and a ukulele. There were two large tough prickly pear cactus pads, and several new thin tender ones. The large tough ones were for planting at the South Laguna Community Garden Park so […]

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Delicate Planning for Change

Delicate Planning for Change

It’s all happening very fast. It’s as though collectively we have decided we are going to run out of time to change. There are so many projects in the works that the city manager and City Council have set up monthly meetings of an urban planning coordinating committee to provide an interface among on-going efforts […]

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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 […]