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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

August 09, 1993

RIDING THE RAILS: The proposed mass-transit rail line in the San Fernando Valley has had an on-again, off-again existence. But now that several elected officials, including Mayor Richard Riordan, have vowed to keep the beleaguered line alive, the question has become how to fund the multibillion-dollar project in the face of shrinking revenues (A1).

JAWS OF STRIFE: L.A. city authorities have stopped trapping the Valley's coyotes, citing the danger of lawsuits. Their thinking: If the city didn't try to control coyotes, it couldn't be sued for failing to catch one that killed a pet--or a child. But the city wouldn't be liable in either case, say legal authorities . . . including the city attorney's office, which says it wasn't asked for advice (B1).

FLIGHT STUFF: Nineteen Antelope Valley High School District students got a taste of the high life as they learned about careers in aviation (B14). . . . After hours spent touring Edwards Air Force Base, NASA, Rockwell Operations and Northrop aerospace companies and the Palmdale Airport, they are more excited than ever about one of the Antelope Valley's leading industries. "You get a lot of information about career choices. They stock you up," said Henry Scales, 18, a recent graduate of Highland High School. Scales said he learned about a variety of jobs in the industry, and is encouraged about his plans to become a pilot: "It's not as hard as I thought."

SWEET NOTHING: Swim. Jog. Pedal. It's summer. Hop till you drop having fun in the sun. In sweat lies salvation, or so they say. . . . But there's another way. Just lie there. Do nothing. Really. Doing nothing at all has a respectable history. Poets and wise men recommend it. Some practitioners who still know how--like Duward Ladd, enjoying the shade of a tree in his yard, above--share their secrets (B1).

SEX SCANDAL: Two men in one of Burbank's most prominent families have been accused of buying sex from local girls as young as 14. Michael A. Mersola, 56, was arrested after allegedly lurking around a local high school. His 86-year-old father has also been arrested (B1). . . . The Mersola family--which owns construction and real estate businesses--is a major contributor to local politicians and participates in many civic activities.

MULE MAN: The Antelope Valley, long known as the land of affordable housing, has a new claim to fame. . . . It's the home of the World Champion Mule Driver (B5). Fred Valentino, 56, who lives in a rural part of the valley with his wife and eight mules, won the title in Bishop.

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