Anaheim Hills Review | Issue 1 | Apr-May 22

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“News for the Neighborhood”

April / May 22



Apr/May 2022

Anaheim Hills REVIEW News For The Neighborhood

From the Publisher With great pleasure I introduce this first edition of the Anaheim Hills Review. For the past 20 years, I’ve published the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review, a human interest magazine that encapsulates the essence of Orange by highlighting the inspiring achievements of community members and the city’s numerous amenities. With this inaugural issue, I and my highly qualified team of professionals partnered with the folks at the Anaheim Hills Community Council (AHCC) to focus on the vibrant community of Anaheim Hills. In these pages, you will find stories about your neighbors, including Anaheim City Mayor Harry Sidhu and Anaheim City Mayor Pro Tem Trevor O’Neil. Discover on pages 4-5 what motivated these men to dedicate themselves to public service. Every great community contains members dedicated to improving and enhancing the experiences of those fortunate to call the area home, as well as visitors. Other fine folks you’ll meet in this issue helping to make Anaheim Hills a welcoming place to live, work and visit include historian Stephen Faesssel, business owners Steve Cooper, Lily Char, Karyn and Kim Schonherz and science teacher Gabor Takas. This inaugural publication was made possible through the inspirational direction of Jim Cain, Operations Manager for the AHCC. Created by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Corporation Foundation. The AHCC is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and funding activities that provide community solutions for creating economic prosperity for the Greater Anaheim area. You’ll hear more about Jim and AHCC’s dedication to making Anaheim a great place to live in future issues of the Anaheim Hills Review, which we look forward to publishing every other month for you. Wishing you a wonderful spring.


A Bit of our Dear Neighbors, My City Council colleague, Stephen J. Faessel, is Anaheim’s leading historian. If you have ever purchased one of the four Anaheim books from the Images of America series, he is the author. I asked Steve to help me bring the history of Anaheim Hills to our community in the Review. He is handling the first two parts, and I am working on the third part: twenty-first century Anaheim Hills. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Jane Newell, the Heritage Services Manager at the Anaheim Public Library and de facto Anaheim Archivist, for her valuable assistance in this effort. We are now pleased to bring you Part I, where Steve discusses the history of Anaheim Hills up to the 1960s and how it is intertwined with the history of Anaheim as a whole. Trevor O’Neil Mayor Pro Tem of Anaheim / City Councilmember for District 6 (Anaheim Hills)

Anaheim, the Mother Colony, Southern California’s first planned community, had its humble beginning in 1857 with 1,165 acres apportioned for city lots, housing and vineyards. Today, the City of Anaheim has grown to just over 50 square miles, covering most of the north Orange County Santa Ana River floodplain and a large portion of the Santa Ana Canyon’s southeastern slope, an area now known as Anaheim Hills. Today’s Anaheim Hills was once part of the 210,000-acre Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana granted to José Antonio Yorba and his nephew Juan Pablo Peralta in

July 1810. The Yorba family used much of this land in the Santa Ana Canyon area to raise cattle, sheep, oxen and mules, plus a large orchard and vineyard. Confirmation of the Yorba and Peralta grants came in June 1884 by patent decree of the United States District Court. The original Yorba lands were partitioned in 1868 to Andrew Glassell and A.B. Chapman, and by 1885, the Jotham Bixby family had also acquired interests in the southeastern side of the Santa Ana Canyon. On October 6, 1943, Mr. and Mrs. Louis E. Nohl were granted a deed to the Bixby properties in the Santa Ana Canyon area.

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History by Stephen J. Faessel and Trevor O’Neil

What was then known as the Nohl Ranch was used as pasture and grazing land for 1,100 head of cattle and also to raise avocados and approximately 23 acres of oranges on the family’s 5,800 acres. The Nohl family was raised in a serene early Orange County farm environment where dips in the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Co. canal were memorable summer evening events. Anaheim’s progressive growth eastward began in earnest in the post World War II era as new home development began to replace the now less valuable Valencia orange groves. In March, 1946, the residents voted to annex an additional 225 acres into the community, which extended the city limits from the original East Street out to what is today State College Boulevard. This EastAnaheim annexation, one of many to follow in the next five

decades, would signal the end of Anaheim’s dependence upon agriculture and usher in its future as a modern residential, commercial and entertainment center. After the opening of Disneyland in July 1955, Anaheim’s cheap land, low housing costs and low interest rates fueled a boom unlike any seen in Southern California before, raising the population from 14,556 in 1950 to more than 104,000 by 1960. Anaheim civic leaders attracted modern defense industry to the community by setting aside an industrial zone in the northeastern part of the city adjacent to the new SR-91 Riverside Freeway. Autonetics (later named Rockwell International) moved to Anaheim in 1959, becoming one of the city’s largest employers. Further residential development followed, forcing Anaheim’s limits east to the Santa Ana River by the early 1960s.

Up next time: Part II will cover the history of Anaheim Hills from the 1960s to the 1990s.

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KNOW THE NEIGHBORS by Sheri Ledbetter

Our Local Harry Sidhu: Anaheim Mayor Born in Punjab, India, and raised in Philadelphia, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has ventured a long way from his roots. He credits the American Dream for his inspiring journey. “In 1974, I legally immigrated to the United States with my parents,” says Sidhu. “I became an American citizen in 1977, and it was one of my proudest moments.” To put himself through college at Drexel University, Sidhu worked as a janitor and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 1981, he left Philadelphia for California and began his professional life here as a consulting engineer in the aerospace industry. He also met his wife, Gin, and raised a daughter and son in Anaheim where the family has lived since 1994. Sidhu had a long-term dream of being a business owner, so he became a successful entrepreneur. He started with a single franchise, where he worked every position to learn the trade, then grew to owning 28 Burger King, Papa John’s and El Pollo Loco fast-food restaurants. On his way to public service, prior to being elected to Anaheim City Council in 2004, Sidhu was chairman of the city’s Budget Advisory Commission and served on the Audit Committee. When a seat opened on the Anaheim City Council, he was encouraged by civic leaders to run for elected office. He served as a council


Behind every great place to live are community leaders dedicated to ensuring a vibrant, welcoming place for all to call home. Here we feature Anaheim’s 46th Mayor Harry Sidhu and Anaheim Hills resident Councilman Trevor O’Neil sharing their journeys to public service and offering sneak peeks into their lives outside office.

Anaheim City Mayor Harry Sidhu is dedicated to ensuring the city serves its residents. This includes offering benefits such as Anaheim’s mobile library.

member from 2004 until 2012, and was mayor pro tem from 2009 to 2012, before becoming mayor in 2018. Sidhu is credited with starting the city’s first annual free health fair in 2006, which is still going strong. Sidhu is the first Indian American to serve on the Anaheim City Council and the first mayor of color in Anaheim. “I consider public service as a way of saying ‘thank you’ and giving back to the country and city that have given so much to me and my family,” he says. He also currently serves on the boards of directors of the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Transportation Authority and is a longtime active supporter of the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club. As the 46th Mayor of Anaheim—the 10th largest populated city in California and the 54th most populated city in the United States—Sidhu reflects on the 25 million tourists who visit every year, as well as the Angel games, the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey team, the international draw of Disneyland and the Convention Center, and the big names in entertainment who come to perform. “Anaheim is a diverse, full-service city,” says Sidhu. “We have everything here.” A man of many talents, Sidhu is a licensed instrument rated general aviation pilot, a helicopter pilot and a real estate broker. For recreation, he enjoys being on the water “on a boat or on a jet ski.”


5753 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd, Ste D Anaheim Hills 92807

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What does world travel and pumpkin launching have in common? These are just two of Trevor O’Neil’s diverse talents and interests. The Anaheim Hills Councilman has lived an adventurous life that includes business ownership and public service. An Orange County native, O’Neil spent his formative years growing up in Yorba Linda in the 1970s-1980s during a time he recalls was more rural than today. “I have many fond memories of riding bikes around town and horses in the lakebed,” he says. O’Neil spent his youth participating in 4-H, where he raised chickens and grew vegetables, and where he says he learned about leadership and responsibility. During summers, he and his family traveled the world. “While I often missed summer vacations at home with friends, I am grateful for having been able to experience so many different cultures and ways of life,” he says. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in computer science, O’Neil embarked on his professional career in the home care industry as a small business owner. “As a business owner, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with regulations targeted at my industry that didn’t make sense,” he says. That’s when he decided to change things. He joined the Board of Directors of his industry state and national trade associations, where he would learn he had an interest in the policymaking process. He also made

Trevor O’Neil: Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem

Anaheim City Mayor Pro Tem Trevor O’Neil enjoys the many outdoor recreational areas in Anaheim Hills, including picturesque Sycamore Park.

friends in the political arena. “While advocating with my trade associations, I would often hear from colleagues that I should pursue elected office,” says O’Neil. “My answer was always that I had a business to run and two kids to get through college.” Fast forward to 2018. With both of his sons in college, the time was right to step up, and O’Neil won a seat on the Anaheim City Council. Fire protection and safe neighborhoods are key priorities for him, as are well-maintained parks and roads. He is also focused on economic growth and acknowledges

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the uniqueness of Anaheim’s economy in that taxes paid through tourism support services for residents. Anaheim’s budget was strained with the recent closure of resort businesses. “The state-mandated economic shutdowns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic were certainly challenging,” says O’Neil. “But I’m proud we got through the tough times and have emerged stronger. Anaheim Hills is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family, and I do what I can to keep it that way.” In his spare time, O’Neil

enjoys growing his own fruits and vegetables at his home garden and at a plot at the Anaheim Hills Community Garden. “Whatever we can’t use fresh ourselves goes to friends and neighbors,” he says, noting that he also does canning to use the garden harvests all year. An accomplished musician, O’Neil also enjoys playing guitar and piano. As for pumpkins, O’Neil is also a three-time champion of the Discovery Science Center’s Pumpkin Launch competition, where teams from throughout Southern California compete hurling pumpkins from homemade, medieval catapults and siege engines. “My son’s team has won the competition twice as well, so we have a little pumpkin dynasty in our family!”

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by Yuki Klotz-Burwell

Inviting you to Visit Spring is a season for new beginnings, and this year marks a remarkable period of renewal as people begin to gather and reunite again. In Anaheim Hills, businesses new and old continue to provide spaces for connections. Anaheim Hill’s oldest eatery, Keno’s Restaurant, is reconstructing its offerings for customers, while the newly opened LilyPopp Cafe begins to make a name for itself in the neighborhood.

12th Easter Festival


No matter what you’re craving, you’ll find it at Keno’s, the oldest restaurant in Anaheim Hills. Since 1983, Keno’s Restaurant has remained a cornerstone of the local dining community, serving its extensive allAmerican menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Over the past four decades, the restaurant has had a history of transformations, starting with the Cooper family taking ownership in 1993. Owner Steve Cooper says that he and his family have stayed committed to keeping their Anaheim Hill’s customers satisfied throughout the years. “We’re family-owned and completely community-focused,” he says. “I know that we’re going to be one of those classic independent American restaurants that transition from generation to generation.” Throughout the pandemic, Steve says he’s seen firsthand how the community stepped up to support his business. When the first lockdowns happened, Keno’s switched to a takeout-style restaurant, a model they’d never tried before. “The local community was unbelievably helpful in times when we were shut down,” says Steve. “They will always support us, and I’ll never forget it.” After mandates began to lift, Steve pivoted to include another new addition to the restaurant: an outdoor stage for live entertain-

Keno’s Restaurant

Keno’s employees pictured here have worked at Keno’s for more than 25 years, a testament to the restaurant’s welcoming environment. Pictured here (from left) are Roman, Eddie, Owner Steve Cooper, Renee and Conseco.

ment, complete with weekend concerts. He also established an additional menu during the weekend, converting the lounge area into Geno’s Steakhouse, an upscale dining option filled with offerings like prime rib and Chilean sea bass. Geno’s Steakhouse is named after Steve’s father, Gene, who passed away in 2018. Gene worked at Keno’s for 25 years

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“We want you to feel like a and made himself known by chatfamily from the moment you ting with guests throughout the walk in,” he says. “We have more night. than 55 employees, some having If you’re not going to Keno’s worked here for more than 30 for the live music or the rich comyears. We all take pride in knowmunity history, the food will draw ing our customers.” you in. With a menu of more than Roman Bellette is one of the 200 different options, it’s easy to employees who has worked at find something to fit your taste. Keno’s for more than 30 years. Steve himself recommends the After joining in 1989, she stayed fried chicken, but for the true on as a supervisor and a server, breakfast experience, order the and says she can’t imagine doing pancakes. anything differently. Besides making sure the local “Keno’s is more than just a community is well-fed, Steve culrestaurant, it’s a place for everytivates his own community within one to get together and enjoy Keno’s Restaurant itself. His goal themselves, no matter what’s hapis to make everyone from firstpening,” says Roman. “Everyone time customers to seasoned here is a part of my family, and servers feel like a family, all withSteve takes such good care of us.” in a welcoming environment at the eatery. Keno’s Restaurant 5750 East LaPalma Ave. / 714-777-9511 F i n d o u t W h a t ’s H a p p e n i n g a t :


Though the pandemic delayed plans for opening, Lilypopp Cafe is now open, and its owners are eager to introduce the Anaheim Hills community to its homemade breakfast, lunch and coffee. Lilypopp Cafe officially opened in March 2021, but business owner Richie Chor originally started leasing the building a year before, right when the pandemic hit. “We had to postpone our opening for a year, but the community has been so understanding,” he says. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming.” At Lilypopp Cafe, you’ll find freshly made bagels, hot and cold sandwiches and various coffee and drink options on the menu. Its bestselling item is The RC, a cold sandwich complete with pastrami, avocado, arugula, cheese and garlic butter. Richie’s mother, Lily Chor, makes all menu offerings, and she

Lilypopp Cafe

continues to build out the menu and work at the shop daily. “My mother is the one who comes up with all the dishes and the ingredients,” says Richie. “She also makes sure everything is homemade all-year long and that we use the freshest ingredients we can find.”

Lily and Richie Chor, the mother-son duo who run the newly opened Lilypopp Cafe, present two of their original homemade bagels. Richie named the shop after his mother, and continued to honor her by including a lily flower in the cafe’s logo.

“Owning a business comes In addition to developing the with a mixture of emotions, but menu and baking the food from my favorite part is being able to scratch, Lily plays another intebe independent,” she says. “It gral role at the eatery—the cafe is was a bit of a risk trying somenamed after her childhood nickthing in a new city, but it has name. “My parents have been worked out so well, and I couldn’t running businesses their whole be happier.” lives, and I wanted to honor my The Chors have discovered a mom with this new shop,” says new sense of community in Richie. “Their hard work shows Anaheim Hills and hope to grow me that I can do what they did. I enough to give back to their new want to follow in their footsteps.” neighborhood. Already, Richie Lily grew up in Switzerland, has found himself supporting and owning her own business had other local businesses and buildalways been a goal for her. She ing a network for himself. and her husband also run a donut “We’re not trying to compete shop in another community, so with other businesses here, we her skills and business acumen really just want to support everywere immediately transferable to one,” he says. “Anaheim Hills has setting up the new cafe. a great group of people, and it When she saw an opportunity feels different from anywhere to partner with her son, Lily says else we’ve been.” she looked forward to both the challenges and benefits that she knew were on the horizon. Lilypopp Cafe 8257-B East Santa Ana Canyon Rd. 657-205-2929 /


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Loving the Hills by Sheri Ledbetter

Mother-daughter duo Karyn and Kim Schonherz are best known for their extensive community service. With involvement in events such as the Fourth of July Parade and Concerts in the Park, the longtime residents and real estate agents have a love for Anaheim Hills that runs deep. Mom Karyn has sold real estate in Anaheim Hills since she moved to the neighborhood in the mid-1970s. Five-year-old Kim remembers her mom pushing her in a stroller while delivering flyers and pamphlets for her growing business. “At that time, it was just open land, orange groves and cows,” recalls Karyn. “The houses were just beginning to be built.” Around that time, Karyn wanted to give her daughter swimming lessons but none were offered in the community. So, Karyn hired a swim instructor, opened the pool in her backyard, and provided swim lessons to the neighbor kids. This would be the beginning of a long relationship with community involvement that continues to this day. “I decided to make a community newsletter, and would drop them off personally to everyone’s homes,” says Karyn. “I knocked on 463 doors. Then I started to have a neighborhood pinochle game—that’s how I started to meet people.” In 1988, Karyn joined the 4th of July Parade committee, eventually becoming chairman in 1990. Over the next 22 years, she and the committee, which included Kim, grew the parade to an entire day of events by adding a 5K and 10k run, the Yankee Doodle doggie show, a pancake breakfast and game booths in the Peralta Park, along with fireworks in the evening. Kim always enjoyed standing on Imperial Highway sending out the vehicles, floats and bands to begin down the parade route. “The most challenging part of being the parade chairman was trying to raise enough funds each year,” recalls Karyn. “We always accomplished our fundraising goals, though. I even appeared once on TV.” Kim joined her mother’s real estate business in 1990 after graduating from college with a criminal justice degree. “I did not see myself going into real estate at that time,” recalls Kim. “I wanted to attend law school and prosecute sex crimes.” Fate intervened when Karyn’s assistant quit her job and Karyn asked her daughter if she wanted the position. “I taught her everything I knew, and after a couple of years I asked her if she wanted to be a partner.’” For the duo, the business and the community involvement go hand-in-hand. Together, they have sponsored Christmas decorating contests, monthly coloring contests for kids and canned food drives. “We used to host a Christmas boutique where we had photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus for the children and their families,” says Karyn. They also used to host an Easter egg hunt at El Rancho Jr High School. And, for the past ten years, they have sponsored Concerts in the Park. “We are very thankful for the friendships and business we have been blessed with throughout all the years working in this great community,” says Karyn. “We could not have achieved all of this without their support.”


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by Melissa Pinion

Canyon High School’s New State-of-the-Art Science Center Gabor Takacs found his passion for teaching science amid the Bunsen burners, beakers and flasks in the lab of his alma mater, Servite High School in Anaheim. He now heads the science department at Canyon High School in the Orange Unified School District. But he still has fond memories of his days as a student. “I was intoxicated with the science lab,” he says. “All of the equipment, freedom of movement and fire was enough to hook me.” So Takacs was excited when Canyon High broke ground in 2019 on a two-story science center that would give students access to the kind of top-notch spaces that inspired his career.

“All of the corridor lights may appear crooked, but they were actually designed to look like DNA strands.” Scott Harvey

“The Orange Unified School District is extremely happy with the completion of the science building at Canyon High School,” says District Senior Executive Director of Administrative Services Scott Harvey. “What an amazing new place for teaching and learning.” Takacs says Canyon’s older science facilities were designed to accommodate about half the students that were using them. “There just was not enough space to safely conduct many inquiry labs,” he says. But Canyon High School Principal Craig Abercrombie says students now can learn in stateof-the-art labs and larger classrooms in a building that features natural light and collaboration areas. The center features 12 science labs, 12 classrooms and office spaces for student services and administration. “Our teachers—especially science teachers—now have the space and tools to conduct projects, experiments and collaborative activities that might not have been possible or as effective in the past,” Abercrombie says.

Takacs says it has transformed the entire feel of the school, calling the facility’s open design concept something that mirrors higher education facilities. “The improvements go far beyond the classrooms,” he says. “The common spaces create a much more inclusive and positive learning environment.” While students were able to excel in the old science building, learning in an older facility presented challenges. But that’s no longer an issue. “Our children’s ability to reach their full potential has become easier,” says Takacs. Also featured are special building details some people might not catch at first. “All of the corridor lights may appear crooked, but they were actually designed to look like DNA strands,” Harvey says. The center at Canyon High School is the district’s third project funded by the $288 million Measure S school bond approved by voters in November 2016. Other projects funded through the Measure S bond include Orange High School’s $52.4 million STEM Complex, which opened in November 2020, and STEM centers at both Villa Park High School ($40.8 million) and El Modena High School ($40.65 million), which opened earlier this year. All four high comprehensive high schools now have two-story facilities containing specialized science labs, new classrooms, state-of-the-art technology and multi-purpose furniture. The science center is part of the first of two construction phases at the school. Other phase-one facilities include a new food service area, added parking, renovation of a multi-purpose room and more. Abercrombie says the new quad area provides a larger space for students to hold activities such as the “Club Carnival,” dances and “Spirit Week” activities. The second phase will include modernization of the existing science building and the removal of 21 portable buildings from the campus.

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