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LIFESTYLES : ViewFinder : A CHRONICLE OF THE PASSING SCENE : Students Aim to Be Flush With Success


Here's a deal being offered by some students of Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley that really is something for nothing.

Hey, it happens.

The students are giving away new ultra-low-flush toilets, wax rings, bolts and installation information.

All for free.

With the $100 worth of goodies, people can replace their outdated toilets and possibly reduce their overall water consumption by as much as 10%, says Debra Sass of the Department of Water and Power.

The DWP devised the scheme to help the school raise money, possibly as much as $10,000 for its student programs, says Virginia Holtz, Poly High principal.

"The DWP will give the school $15 for each toilet that is replaced," Sass says.

Sixty students--members of the school's leadership bodies, sports teams and school organizations will start trying today to sell the public on the low-flush concept.

One of the best parts of the program, according to Principal Holtz, is the co-sponsor--the Multi-Cultural Student Alliance Against Racism and Violence, a national organization that helps young people develop racial understanding and interracial friendships.

"The Alliance people locally have done the training of the students, not only in how to conduct community outreach for the low-flush toilet, but in helping the young people develop working relationships with all kinds of people. It adds a third positive aspect to the program," says Holtz.

Did Anyone Ask If Reptiles Have Cooties?

There was lots of "oohing" and "ahhing" when Mar-Tex Pet Store co-owner Bill Bashem of Encino showed up recently at an Encino Elementary School kindergarten class.

Bashem makes a habit of getting out of the office and showing off his in-house merchandise--in this case, several exotic members of the animal kingdom, including a couple of snakes.

"I go to classrooms by invitation in schools around the Valley. I introduce the snakes and lizards to children and talk a little about their nature," he says.

Bashem says he particularly likes to visit schools in the Pacoima area because many of the youngsters there have never been to a zoo and seen a reptile up close.

He has a good way with animals and children, says Encino Principal Orlando Martinez, who adds that Bashem and his creepy-crawlers have been coming to his school at least once a year for the last three years.

Bashem also brings a little bit of the school back into his pet shop. Thank-you notes from teachers and children dot the Ventura Boulevard store.

Shop With a Clean Conscience

Here's how to go clothes shopping without feeling guilty: (We knew you'd keep reading.)

Since Earth Day is April 22, the folks at Pickwick Fashions in the Courtyard Shops of Encino have declared April 23 as Save the Earth-Save the People Day. (We know, it's a little wordy.)

Save the Earth-Save the People Day means that shoppers should bring a bag of food or clothing to the store for distribution at the Fred Jordan Mission for the homeless in Los Angeles. In return, Pickwick will give a discount of 20% on clothing sold between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day to everyone.

There also will be a free buffet created by chef Agostino Sciandri of Toscana and Terrazza Toscana. The two clothing lines featured during the sale day lend themselves to the theme, said Steve Guttman, who runs the shop with his wife, Sandra.

According to Guttman, American Worker uses ecologically safe and environmentally responsible techniques in manufacturing clothing, with the only byproduct being steam. American Worker and Angel Heart clothing are made exclusively with natural fibers.

Now all you need to do is get out that environmentally friendly plastic, and charge!

On a Home Design Roll

How many of you have tried to do your own wallpapering?

How many of you, during this activity, used language not befitting an adult trying to positively affect his or her teen-ager's vocabulary, and carried on as though your new car had been dropped over a cliff?

It's OK. Don't worry.

Wallpaper bubbles do that to everybody, which brings us to Arni E. Heiderich, who has found what he thinks is the answer--wall printing.

Heiderich imports a special process that he says has long been popular in Europe. Instead of rolling on wallpaper, those who use his process roll a design on previously painted or papered walls.

In other words, the customer picks out the pattern and color he or she wants, and Heiderich's magic stencil machine puts it right up on the surface.

He doesn't lend the machine out, but says having his people do this can be cheaper than doing your own wallpapering. Thousands of color combinations are available in any one of 275 patterns, and the design is applied with washable paint. Finished walls are on display in his Canoga Park showroom.

Heiderich's business, called Decowall, is fairly new, and unique to the Los Angeles area, he says.

And when Heiderich's not fiddling around with wall printing, he's playing bass violin with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been his primary occupation for about 35 years.


"We went to Las Vegas last week and saw some of our favorite rock groups from the '70s. I couldn't believe any of us were there. It was bad enough when we all turned into our parents. Now we have thinner hair, fatter thighs and nothing to believe in or fight for. It's sad."--'70s Valley activist to another over lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Woodland Hills

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