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August 13, 1993|Gary Gorman

FAIRY TALES: For weeks now, Ventura County has had dueling productions of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," one in Camarillo and one in Santa Paula. Now we have two Cinderellas, both musicals, opening today. . . . Camarillo Community Theater is staging the Rodgers and Hammerstein version, while the Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama & Vaudeville Company exposes "The Truth About Cinderella.". . . . "Neither knew what the other was doing," said Moorpark's Elaine Raleigh. But she was blithely unconcerned. "They're very different shows." In Moorpark's spoof, Cinderella is a manipulative brat.

HIGH RISE: Here's one way Simi Valley can look down at Thousand Oaks: literally. At 822 feet above sea level, Simi Valley stands head and shoulders above T.O. and every other Ventura County city. . . . "Another big victory," Simi Valley Mayor Greg Stratton said. With Thousand Oaks, he said, "There's a natural rivalry, like siblings. We're a little younger, perhaps a little brasher--and now, I've found out, a little higher.". . . . Pat Fredericks of the Conejo Valley Assn. of Realtors was unfazed: "We get more ocean breezes."

High Points

Elevation of Ventura County cities,* in feet: Simi Valley: 822 Thousand Oaks: 800 Ojai: 746 Moorpark: 513 Fillmore: 469 Santa Paula: 274 Camarillo: 160 Oxnard: 52 Ventura: 50 Port Hueneme: 12

Highest point in the county: Mt. Pinos: 8,831

* Measurement taken at city halls.

Source: California Cities, Towns and Counties, 1992 and Ventura County Public Works

OPEN DOORS: How's this for a twist? The super-secret Ventura County grand jury--which ran an electronic sweep of its chambers last year to look for bugs--is having open house Aug. 24. . . . "We want to promote interest," juror Ruth Austin said. "People don't realize what we do." (They indict suspects and investigate government.). . . . The panel's Hall of Justice sanctuary will be thrown open from 3 to 5 p.m., Austin said, and jurors will be on hand "to discuss what we can."

FREE HYDRANTS: Looking for an unusual lawn ornament? Fillmore is replacing 17 silver-colored fire hydrants, some dating back to 1930. "We'll haul them to the junkyard, or give them to somebody who wants them for their back yard," contractor Steve Blois said. . . . Don't put them in the front yard, Fire Chief Pat Askran said. "If we hooked a hose to it and water didn't come out, I would not be happy at all."

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