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NEIGHBORS : Spiritual Messages Tucked Into Fiction Series for Kids : Thousand Oaks resident Bill Myers' new work, "The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle," aimed at youths, features a sixth-grade computer whiz.


Thousand Oaks resident Bill Myers, co-creator of the million-selling "McGee & Me" children's books and videos, is publishing a new fiction series for kids.

"The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle" features a sixth-grade, near-genius computer whiz with a knack for writing and a wild imagination.

"He's a sixth-grade Woody Allen character," Myers said. "He's also the all-school punching bag."

Wally's trials and tribulations make him a perfect vehicle to carry Myers' spiritual messages. The veteran Sunday school teacher said that God should not be boring, but sometimes religion is like a cure for insomnia.

"I take Christian faith seriously, but I know I have to candy-coat it so kids don't feel that they are being preached to."

Myers has won more than 40 awards for his books, film and video productions.


Aaron Berk, 13, of Port Hueneme has no fear of the number 13, but he is a little hesitant about being a teen-ager. Aaron turned 13 on Friday the 13th.

"About a month ago, I was looking at the calendar to see what day my birthday fell on because I like to know. I thought it was kind of rare to turn 13 on the 13th."

On learning that triskaidekaphobia means fear of the number 13, Aaron pronounced himself free of the disorder.

"To tell you the truth I'd rather not be a teen. Every year I get farther away from childhood and I know that I'm going to look back on the time when I had less responsibility. Everybody tells me that. One year I think, maybe they're right. The next I think, well, they're probably right. Now I'm pretty sure they're right."

Even if the teen years and the prospect of adulthood leave him unexcited, Aaron has one thing to look forward to: In September, he and his schoolmates from E. O. Green School will travel to Washington to receive an award from President Clinton for the school's overall improvement on standardized test scores.

"I'm trying to think of something to say to him. I listen to Rush Limbaugh a lot and I think I'd like to make a comment or something."


Clarence Strausser will be honored at the Oxnard Masonic Lodge Wednesday to celebrate his 75th year in that organization. He will mark his 100th birthday on Jan. 30. Strausser lives at the Glen Wood Convalescent Home.

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