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NEIGHBORS / SHORT TAKES : Here's the Beef : You don't have to ride waves to enjoy Baja Bill's jerky, which was born on a surfin' safari down Mexico way.


It began as a road trip. It ended as marketing mania.

"A bunch of us took a trip last October to Cabo San Lucas," said Jeff Sanders, president of Creative Screenprinting Inc. of Ventura. "One of the friends who went, his name is Bill, brought some (homemade) jerky with him."

Well, it didn't take long before the gang was downing the beef. "We were surfing all day," Sanders said. "The water was 85 degrees. It was 110 degrees in the shade, and we were eating this jerky that was scalding our mouths. At the bottom of the bag was two inches of peppers."

As Sanders recalled, it was about an hour and several drinks later that the group decided to try to sell the jerky to the public.

They returned home, found a jerky manufacturer that would crank out their product, and for the past six months have been test marketing Baja Bill's Surf Jerky in small grocery stores and surf shops from Ventura to Goleta. They plan to test the jerky in about a dozen Vons markets within a month.

Sanders said that despite what the name might suggest, the jerky is not solely aimed at surfers. "We're going after Everyman," he said. "We're not trying to have a high-tech surfing image where it's really cliquish."

Part of the marketing plan includes selling Baja Bill-wear with the jerky. So far there are Baja Bill hats and Baja Bill T-shirts. Other paraphernalia may be in the offing.

One last question: Is the jerky still the mouth-scalding product that Baja Bill originally cooked up? "No, it's not the same recipe," said Sanders. "We couldn't sell that."


Anyone recall our last mention of photographer Joey Fischer? That's OK, we had to look it up ourselves.

It was back in January, 1991, that Fischer, then living in Calabasas, was preparing to install Windowstills in the intensive-care and coronary-care units at Ventura's Community Memorial Hospital.

Windowstills are computerized false windows with images of changing outdoor scenes that simulate a 24-hour day. They have been used in windowless hospital rooms to offer patients a sense of the outside world and limit time disorientation. Anyway, the Windowstills didn't make it to Community Memorial. Not yet anyway.

Fischer called last week from his new home in Atlanta to say those windows may be hospital bound after all. He's hoping to deliver them around the middle of this month. And the ones he's installing are an improvement over the other ones. They now come complete with stars in the nighttime sky.

Note: Fischer said the project at Community Memorial was delayed because he had to rework his invention for the U. S. Navy. It wants to install the simulated windows in submarines, he said.


Good luck to the 75 women of Oxnard's Channelaire Chorus, most of whom will leave Monday for next week's International Competition of Sweet Adelines in Baltimore.

The Channelaires earned a place in the choral contest by winning a regional competition in Bakersfield last year. They will be competing against 26 other regional victors from around the world.

In 1988, the Channelaires finished 11th in the international competition. They're looking to improve on that this time around.

"We're shooting to be in the top 10, and we're hoping to do better than that," said member Joanne Bull. "The more members you have in the chorus, the better your sound. It's a wall of sound. It's just so immense, so powerful. We'll be competing with choruses that have 140 members. The chances of us being No. 1 are slim, but not impossible."

If it sounds as if it's not just fun and games, it isn't. "Oh, it's competitive," Bull said. "We're ladies, we love to sing--but we want to win too."

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