FEWER ORANGE FIRS: Sales of Christmas trees...

FEWER ORANGE FIRS: Sales of Christmas trees (B1) are already strong here, but most of those trees come from outside Orange County. Christmas tree production has dropped 62% here since 1988. Says county agricultural commissioner John L. Ellis: “The availability of land is no longer as great, and production costs have gone up.” . . . The county’s total Christmas tree crop was worth just over $1 million last year--down from $3.5 million in 1988.

NEW PUBLIC DOC: Look for the county Board of Supervisors today to appoint Fresno County public health director Hugh F. Stallworth as the new public health officer for Orange County. . . . County health officials and Stallworth himself are mum for now. But Stallworth would replace Rex Ehling, who retired to take a state health position. Stallworth, who took the Fresno job three years ago, told one newspaper: “I see a doctor’s role as a teacher, not a healer.”

ROAD CONSCIOUS: If you were stuck in rush-hour freeway traffic Monday, you may not think that driving here is getting easier. But a new survey by UC Irvine shows that 78% of the county’s employees still drive alone to work. That’s down from 84% in the 1989 survey; it was 82% in 1982. . . . The survey also shows that 53% favor the three new toll roads proposed here, with just 39% opposed (and 8% unsure). Support is strongest in South County, even though the most vocal opposition is from there too.

TWO FIVES FOR FOUR: The Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach was eager for more after winning a five-diamond rating from the American Automobile Assn. last year. This year’s 1994 AAA travel guide, announced Monday, lists five diamonds for both the hotel and its restaurant, The Pavilion. . . . It’s the only hotel-and-restaurant west of the Mississippi to rate the AAA top honor. Says general manager Raymond Jacobi: “So, we have a 10-diamond experience now for the price of five.”


Falling Trees

Since 1988, Christmas tree production in Orange County has been cut 62%. ’88: 77,550 ’89: 70,000 ’90: 50,000 ’91: 33,750 ’92: 29,250 Source: Orange County Agricultural Commissioner