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Odds & Ends Around the Valley : Twin Bills

July 20, 1989| Compiled by Marci Slade

It could be a home seller's dream--or nightmare: Instead of one real-estate agent, they end up with two. Sets of "twins" are popping up all over, as the names of two agents are often found hanging from "For Sale" signs on front-yard lawns. More agents within individual companies are working as partners.

"I have definitely been noticing more partnerships. I think it allows you a more flexible schedule," says Ellen Model of Merrill Lynch's Sherman Oaks office. She has been in real estate for more than four years and is a full-time partner with her sister Barbara Moore. The sisters are part-time partners with Jackie Davis on any transactions in the Toluca Lake area.

"It's safer too," Model continues. "I will not sit alone in a vacant open house. There are too many nuts out there."

According to Buddy Bernard, president of the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors and owner of White House Properties of Northridge, "The business is getting to the point where there is so much paper work and it's so complicated that one person isn't physically capable of handling more than two transactions at the same time."

New real-estate licensees are more likely to team up in a particular office. "There is more of a comfort level in working with someone else to augment your own expertise," Bernard notes. Adds newcomer Barbara Moore, "Being partners with my sister allows me to follow escrows and make cold calls while she's able to go out in the field."

With two real estate agents, does the house sell twice as fast?

Picked-Up Trucks

So you like your small 4x4 truck? So do a lot of car thieves.

"Statewide, we've seen the theft of these personal trucks increase quite a bit over the last three years," says Lt. Chuck Shipley of the California Highway Patrol. "For example, personal-truck thefts in 1987 were up 22.9% over 1986. And last year these thefts were up 24% over 1987."

In real numbers, this means 77,106 personal trucks were stolen in 1988 and 62,507 disappeared in 1987.

Of the top 40 makes of personal trucks stolen each year, Toyota brands took the top four spots. Overall the recovery rate for stolen personal trucks is about 81%, Shipley says, but "that's still quite a few trucks missing."

According to Los Angeles Police Detective Tony Alba, "The majority of them are being joy-ridden. The ones that are stolen don't have any anti-theft devices on them."

Some end up in Mexico and other Central American countries, he notes. "It's gotten to be a big business. The trucks are more valuable monetarily in those countries than they are here. People there pay a high dollar value for them," he says.

Shipley believes small trucks have become major targets because they are exempt from the federal law that requires manufacturers to place vehicle identification numbers on major component parts--and these trucks are often stolen for parts.

Pushy Gardeners

Life has gotten just a little simpler for some weekend gardeners who are rediscovering old-fashioned push lawn mowers.

"It's a trend that caught us by surprise," admits Mike Smith, regional merchandiser for Target stores. "We've advertised them in the Valley four times since March, and each time we sold more than double what we expected. Some stores in the Valley sold as many as 45 in a single week."

Gas-powered lawn mowers are still overwhelmingly popular with consumers, but the push is on for manual mowers.

"Maybe they buy them for the exercise or maybe they just have a small yard," speculates Bob Midgley, hardware salesman at Green Arrow Nursery in Sepulveda. "There's renewed interest in them. We sell an average of one or two a week now, and a few years ago we didn't even carry them."

There are those who believe that push mowers actually do a better job than their electric and gas counterparts. "A rotary mower--like gas or electric--shears off the top of the grass, whereas a push mower snips it like a scissor, so the lawn looks better," says Robert Schwartz, a salesman at Builders Emporium in Reseda.

Look Good, Feel Better

"The Lipstick Theory" may be unscientific but it is popular among medical professionals who work with female cancer patients. The premise is that when a woman starts to put on her lipstick, she is on the road to recovery.

The sudden and radical side effects of chemotherapy--such as partial or total loss of hair, eyebrows or eyelashes; changes in skin tone and texture and weakened fingernails--can be devastating to a woman's sense of self. A new national program called "Look Good, Feel Better" is being launched by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Assn. in conjunction with the American Cancer Society to help women learn to overcome these problems through the skilled use of makeup and wigs.

More than 60,000 hairdressers, makeup artists and manicurists nationwide have voluntarily undergone training to deal with the special needs of cancer patients. They provide free consultations for cancer patients and show them a video of make-over techniques.

"We help them select a wig and tell them they might as well have a little fun with this," says hairdresser Carol Hildebrand, of R.C. and Co. in Sherman Oaks, which shares space with another program participant, Gauthier the Beauty Specialists. "If you've always wanted to be a blond, be a blond now. Get two or three different styles."

The American Cancer Society gives patients a package of free cosmetics, along with a pamphlet on how to apply them.

"The training in this area for cosmetologists is ongoing," reports Karin Klyce, co-owner of Twin Images Salon in Van Nuys, another program participant. "We're always going to seminars to find out about new things. The big reward for us is the thank-you and the hugs and kisses we get."

Cancer patients can call 1-800-558-5005 to find out which salons in their area are participants.

Overheard At ...

"How am I? Well, I'm doing fine, but my hair is having a bad day."

--Woman at pay phone in Northridge mini-mall

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