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NEIGHBORS : Speaking Up : St. John's Seminary College tackles the big boys in forensics competition, and makes some impressive points.


Members of the Forensics team at St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo recently took on competition from heavyweight universities--the likes of UC Berkeley, USC and Stanford--at the Jack Samosky Invitational Tournament.

Guess how they did?

Yes, in the tradition of the biblical David vs. Goliath contest, the smaller competitor made a very solid showing. Members of the St. John's team finished first and second in the best duo division and wound up in the finals in four other categories.

The Port Hueneme Historical Museum is looking for a few good photos or memorabilia or anything else that represents the city's downtown area from 1930 to 1960. Whatever museum officials manage to collect will go on display the weekend of June 6.

Dorothy Ramirez, the Museum Commission chairwoman, said the exhibit is one way to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Seabees in Port Hueneme.

So far, the memorabilia hunt is going a bit slowly, in part because it's a little difficult to find downtown merchants from that 30-year period.

"We figured they either moved or passed away. But we figured their relatives may still have pictures or other items," Ramirez said. "We have some pictures but not that many."

One photo they do have is of the old Bank of Hueneme building, which now houses the museum itself. The building was built in 1925. The architect was Myron Hunt, who also designed the Huntington Library and the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

If you'd like to add to the collection, call 986-6555.

There might not be much France in Oxnard, but there is some Oxnard in France.

That touch of Oxnard is in the form of steel and brass baker's racks, which were manufactured by Artistica Metal Designs Inc. on Mercantile Road. They will be used at the new EuroDisneyland, opening near Paris next month.

"We have a showroom in San Francisco and designers for a portion of Disney came in and saw our products on the floor," said Whitten Yount, who co-owns Artistica with his wife, Sally. "They asked, 'If we send a specific drawing of what we want, can you do it for us?' "

The answer, of course, was yes. Artistica eventually shipped six made-to-order racks.

But there is one sad note: It doesn't look as though the couple will actually get to visit their products just yet. "I don't think we'll spend the money to do that," Yount said. And he doesn't think they will be invited to the opening of EuroDisneyland. "I'm sure you have to be some kind of politician," he said.

Ventura County not only has a say in the sites of EuroDisneyland, but also in the sounds. Eleven county musicians have been selected for the college and high school All-American Marching Band, which will go overseas for two opening ceremonies.

The performers were picked from more than 5,000 candidates throughout the country.

One of those performers is 17-year-old Benjamin Denne, a euphonium player from Ojai. That's right, a euphonium player. We must concede, we checked Webster's on this one: "A valved brass instrument like the baritone, but more mellow in tone."

Denne will be joined by Steve Aggas and Carlo Evangelisti of Ventura, Jim E. Custin Jr., Lydia Salinas, Howard Durand and Lilly Welty of Oxnard, Sarah Hopkins of Port Hueneme, Melanie Bond of Simi Valley and Melissa Cabral and Eric David of Thousand Oaks.

The only catch for the musicians was that they had to pay their own way to France. Denne, in fact, will be holding a self-benefiting concert at the Ojai Valley Community Church on Saturday to raise some of the travel money.

Here, too, there is a sad note: It doesn't appear that the Denne family will be able to watch their euphonium-playing sibling in his European debut. "Oh, I wish," said his mother, Laura Denne, stressing the cost of such a trip. "We bought him a big suitcase, but I don't think any (family members) will fit in it."

Advertising slogan of the week: "Just say no to drugs and say yes to a new door." Huh? It makes a little more sense when you realize that the words were on the back window of a truck belonging to the Dennert Garage Door Co. of Simi Valley. But it's still difficult for the kids who opt for the door.

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