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Author Archive for Ann Christoph

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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 […]

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Village Matters: Is There Magic?

Village Matters: Is There Magic?

I dreaded the prospect of getting married, walking down that aisle. What if that man waiting for me at the altar was the wrong one?  “How will I know when I’ve met ‘the one,’ the person I’m destined to spend a lifetime with?” “You’ll know, you will feel the magic…” came the answer from those […]

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Village Matters: Exercising Freedom

Village Matters: Exercising Freedom

Were the famous founding fathers who wrote and voted for the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate this week just like some of the leaders of our home-created organizations? It’s hard to imagine but in the 1770s there were only 2.5 million people in the whole country—then the 13 original colonies. Similarly, Orange County today […]

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Village Matters: Colony Collapse?

Village Matters: Colony Collapse?

Beekeeper Charlotte Bell “Shared the Buzz on Bees” at the South Laguna Community Garden Park on Saturday. As our local bees buzzed happily on the intense yellow pollen amid the white crepe paper-like flowers of the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri), we learned of the importance of bees to our economy and well-being.  Bell explained that […]

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Village Matters #218: Treasuring a Hometown Feeling

Village Matters #218: Treasuring a Hometown Feeling

Walk into a room crowded with partiers chatting animatedly. Glasses are raised. Hors d’oeuvres on tiny plates are being balanced. There are conversations that are hard to break into. But there are those faces I recognize and I know that with them there will always be a warm reception. Jim and Jan Hall of Temple […]

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Village Matters: Don’t Ask How Much

Village Matters: Don’t Ask How Much

My first remembrance of Arnold Hano is of standing in the kitchen of the Lamont Langworthy-designed house he and Bonnie had built in Bluebird Canyon.  It was the mid-1970s and Fred Lang was advising on the Hanos’ landscaping. I was tagging along, taking notes. I knew from Fred’s tone on the way up to the […]

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Village Matters: They’re Disposable

Village Matters: They’re Disposable

Ours is a town of causes and we’re often asked to contribute, sometimes by buying a chance on a raffle.  This time my friend won a three-day stay in a cabin in Big Bear Lake and invited me and two other women to enjoy this mountain get-away. Quiet in this off-season after the snow and […]

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Village Matters: Match.com for Houses

Village Matters: Match.com for Houses

Who was Nina Koshetz?  This world-famous Russian opera singer performed leading operatic roles in Russia and throughout Europe, and gave concerts accompanied by Rachmaninoff, her lover for a time.  Her dramatic escape from Russia included hiding jewels in her daughter’s diapers. In the United States in 1920 she built a new career that included performances […]