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NEIGHBORS : She's Floored : Helle Scharling-Todd of Denmark says there is an artistic drought in the county.

October 18, 1990|LEO SMITH

Artist Helle Scharling-Todd is on a mission of sorts--to brighten up Ventura County.

Her first move was to put in the large floor mosaic at the Port Hueneme Library. Now she's trying to do the same thing in Ventura. In May, Scharling-Todd received a $2,500 grant from the Ventura Arts Council to create something for the H.P. Wright Library. Unfortunately, she's been unable to match that figure through private sources, so she's only gotten as far as doing the sketches.

"At first I wanted to build a sculpture with water, but the library thought it might be too dangerous," she said. "They suggested something in the patio. It's a very dark place. The library is very bland."

Scharling-Todd, who was born in Denmark and came to the United States 10 years ago, said she decorated about 30 public buildings in her former homeland and has the same idea in mind for her current hometown of Ventura.

"There are tons of places," to decorate, she said. "Ventura is literally untouched when it comes to art. There's been a drought here."

How do you sell an ugly pumpkin? Give it a name like Scarface.

At least that's the marketing tactic at the Somis Farm produce stand in Somis, where most of the Halloween fruits actually go by more flattering names like Kim, Estelle and Marsha.

"My daughter named them," said co-owner Gladys Kohatsu. "The kids love it. If they know some member of the family with the same name, they pick it up."

Other members of the residing pumpkin family:

Beth--the fattest and, at $6, the most expensive.

Penny--the smallest and one of the cheapest, at $1.75.

Sleepy--the one in the reclining position.

Well, the Simi Valley Cajun band Gumbo La La is back from a successful engagement, playing on the sidewalk outside the Holiday Casino in Las Vegas. Performing just several hundred feet off the Strip, the group attracted about 200 people by the third set.

"Sometimes the cabdrivers would pull over to the right, get out and stand there for 20 minutes," said bandleader Bobby Weiszmann.

So what did Weiszmann do to relax during off hours in Sin City?

"I went to a petting zoo," he said. "I watched the ducks and chickens."

5:55-6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, just won't be the same.

Earlier this month Chris Gordon and Marc Martinez, both seniors at Buena High School in Ventura, ended their yearlong stint as co-anchors of the evening news on Cable Channel 6.

It was short but sweet. Gordon will be taking with him a lot of memories.

"The San Francisco earthquake hit about 40 minutes before we went on the air," he said. "First, when it happened, we didn't know what was going on. We felt it. We were sitting in the studio and all the lights were shaking. We thought it might have been local."

Does Gordon plan to make a career out of broadcasting? "Yes. I want to be an anchorman. I don't want to do sports or weather and have to talk about storms in Idaho."

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