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NEIGHBORS : It's Coastal Cleanup Time : Watch out for octopus jars, football lights, conga lines and the ice cream cone's birthday.

September 20, 1990|LEO SMITH

On Saturday, Ventura County residents will participate in the annual Coastal Cleanup sponsored by the California Coastal Commission.

Each year, volunteers hit beaches to tidy things up, and they never know what they'll find.

Just look at what they dug up last year.

According to Kitty Dill of the Ventura Regional Sanitation District, the trash haul included a set of his-and-her wedding rings, still in the box, and an octopus in a jar.

The wedding rings, sadly, need no explanation, but what's with the octopus? "Apparently the jar was in the ocean, and the baby octopus took it as a home," Dill said.

Longtime fans of the Moorpark College football team will probably notice a change from past years when they attend Sunday's game against Los Angeles Valley College--most notably, that the game is being played at night.

After 23 years of playing only day games, Moorpark College officials decided it was time to install some lights around Griffin Stadium. The four 75-foot standards cost about $200,000, half of which was supplied by the developer.

However, many fans probably will be more excited about another change, the switch from porta-potties to full-fledged restroom facilities.

Speaking of Moorpark College, the start of the school year means the restart of the international Grammar Hotline. And the telephone has been ringing off the hook the past couple of weeks.

The hot line has been around for 17 years, and increasingly more and more people are calling. English teacher Michael Strumph, who runs the hot line, said he receives about 300 calls and letters each week from around the world.

Why the high volume? Increased sales of books authored by Strumph, for one thing. Decreased literacy, for another, said Strumph. "We're getting deeper and deeper into the mess," he said.

Many of the inquiries Strumph gets are from members of the military who are out of the country and sending letters back home. So Strumph has an offer for the forces in the Middle East: "If you guys want to communicate with our college students to get letters corrected, we'll do it."

This service will also be available for people writing to family members and friends in the military. For information, call 378-1494.

To kick off, literally, this weekend's Ventura Music Celebration, the folks at radio station KKBY have invited various county politicians and celebrities to Mission Park on Friday to help form what they hope will be the longest-ever conga line.

What's the record? "I think it's in the 100,000 range," said Bonnie Bahrman. "We don't expect to break it, but we'll give it a run for its money."

In addition to the conga festivities, the station will also host a Carmen Miranda look-alike contest. Said KKBY's announcement: "Winners will receive a cash purse." A cash purse to go with a fruit hat?

Toward the end of the 19th Century, an Italian immigrant named Italo Marchiony purchased a push cart and began peddling lemon ice on the streets of New York City. As business grew, so did his imagination. Soon he developed a pastry cone to hold the ice. In 1903, Marchiony, pleased with his invention, applied for a patent for what would be the first official ice cream cone.

That application was filed 87 years ago Saturday. We asked a local ice cream vendor how she planned to honor this historic date in frozen dessert history.

"I didn't know about it," said Joanne Caldwell, owner of Ojai Ice Cream. "We have nothing planned, but we might mention it a few times. Everybody would get a few laughs."

Is she glad the cone was invented? "Yes," she said, "who would want to wash all those dishes?"

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