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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH

July 24, 1993|Jerry Hicks and Martin Beck

HIGHWAY FLYING: Would you actually pay money to keep from sitting in freeway gridlock? County transportation officials are betting you will. . . . Groundbreaking takes place Tuesday on the Riverside Freeway, where a private company will build nonstop toll lanes--two each direction--for a 10-mile stretch just east of the Costa Mesa Freeway. But no toll booths! When it's ready in two years, your toll fee--about $1.75--is chalked up through a state-of-the-art gadget placed near your rearview mirror. You pay later by credit card. Three-person carpools can use the lanes for free.

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HEARTTHROB IN WAX: How hot is new country sensation Billy Ray Cyrus? The Movieland Wax Museum has been fielding 200 calls an hour, all with the same question: Will Billy Ray show up in person today for the unveiling of his wax figure at the Buena Park museum? "We've never had such a response," says museum General Manager Mark Edwards. . . . Yes, Billy Ray will be there. The afternoon ceremony is expected to draw a crowd of no less than 5,000 Billy Ray fans.

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NON-EXCLUSION: Actress Julie Carmen ("Milagro Beanfield War") is a leading advocate of better roles for Latinos. Tonight she co-hosts the fund-raising premiere of the three-evening Hispanic Play Festival at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. . . . "The theater sometimes excludes people," Carmen says, "As if Latinos can't do Shakespeare." Tonight's show--music, comedy and scenes from works of Latino playwrights--will raise money for SCR's Latino youth outreach programs.

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JUST SAY YES: When Irvine Co. officials first approached Tom Fazio to design the seaside golf courses for its Pelican Hill development along the Newport coast (C1), he turned them down. Fazio, who has designed about 120 courses in a 30-year career, was worried that expectations would be too high in such a pristine location. So Peter Ueberroth, a member of the Irvine Co. board of directors and friend of Fazio's, asked again . . . and again. "He wouldn't let me say no," Fazio says. "Now I'm glad."

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