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NEIGHBORS: Lagunans kick up heels for CHOC

Five Laguna Beach residents will join some 100 business and civic leaders from around Orange County in a new musical production “The Princess and the Prius,” to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

CHOC Follies XII, a hilarious musical production, will hit the Robert B. Moore Theater at Orange Coast College at 8 p.m. Thursday and continue at 8 p.m. April 3 and for two performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 4.

Now in its 12th year, the CHOC Follies has earned a reputation as one of Orange County’s most original, successful charity events. Under the guidance of director John Vaughan, the show has netted nearly $4 million for CHOC.

For the first time ever, Lagunans Joan Gladstone and Ed Gillow will perform together on stage.

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Laguna retailer Heidi Miller will also kick up her heels, as well as Shawn Hoctor and Marilyn Brumley.

“We are honored to join a cast of talented volunteers,” Gladstone said.

CHOC has been providing emergency and critical care to Orange County families for 45 years, regardless of the family’s financial situation.

Proceeds from this year’s Follies are designated to support development of a new schoolroom at CHOC, enabling children who are hospitalized to continue their schooling in an educational environment.

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Tickets are now on sale, with prices ranging from $35 to $125. The $125 ticket includes a post-show cast party on Friday or Saturday night. All seats are reserved and group sales are available.

The theater is at 2710 Fairview Road, in Costa Mesa.

For tickets and information, including sponsorship opportunities, call the CHOC Children’s Foundation at (714) 532-8690, or visit www.chocfollies.org.

Orange County title insurance firm thriving

A recession-plagued economy in 1974 inspired Laguna Beach resident John Marconi to start one of the first Orange County-based title companies.

With a small bank loan — and a big vision for Orange County’s burgeoning real estate opportunities — the then 30-year-old entrepreneur founded the first “home grown” title insurance company in Santa Ana and never looked back.

Orange Coast Title Company is marking its 35th year and celebrating its success at staying the course in a difficult environment.

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When asked how the company plans to celebrate the milestone, President and Chief Operating Officer Rich Macaluso said, “We’re not doing anything extravagant. We’re celebrating with pizza and a personal message from John Marconi and myself, which will be posted on the company’s intranet.”

That message is: “These are very difficult times in our world, country, state and the real estate industry and we’re proud to be able to survive and remain successful.”

Last year was the most tumultuous in the history of the title insurance industry with two major events, Macaluso noted.

First, one of the nation’s largest title agencies closed all operations in California, Arizona and Texas and the following week sold their Colorado business units out of bankruptcy.

Second, the nation’s third largest title insurer, and one of Fortune Magazines Most Admired Companies in 2008 and on the “Fortune 500,” declared bankruptcy and sold their title insurance divisions.

Marconi attributes the firm’s success to its customers, excellent management team and employees.

“We believe ‘service matters’ and our staff will do ‘whatever it takes’ to fulfill our “commitment to service since 1974’ and get every transaction closed in an efficient manner,” he said. “We pride ourselves on the feeling of ‘family’ at our company. Many of our employees have been with us for more than 20 years.”

In addition, the company has remained involved in the community through Easter Seals, cancer awareness, involvement in schools, Goodwill and helping U.S. soldiers fighting abroad.

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Orange Coast Title Company is one of the largest independent underwritten title company organizations in the United States and offers residential resale, lender, subdivision and commercial/industrial title and closing services throughout the country.

Orange Coast Title Company is at 640 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana.

For more information, call (714) 558-2836 or visit www.octitle.com



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