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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

August 23, 1993

SCHOOL CHOICE: Parental choice in their children's schooling is already a reality in the San Fernando Valley. . . . For the past two months, seven schools in Sylmar have been competing in a revolutionary experiment allowing parents to choose which school their kids will attend. The experiment has led to some old-fashioned self-promotion. One of the competing schools boasts of an "attractive, well-kept campus" (A3).

PARK GIVEAWAY: Los Angeles County is getting rid of at least 10 parks worth millions of dollars because it can't afford to operate them. . . . The transfers mark a shift in the role of the county, which is being reduced to providing only essential public safety services. Two parks already have been transferred to the city of Los Angeles, and eight more are scheduled to be transferred this fall to cities that include Calabasas, Santa Clarita and Malibu (B1).

FAMILY FRIEND: It's not easy loving someone doing hard time. . . . Visitors at California State Prison--Los Angeles County are subjected to stringent rules banning blue jeans and miniskirts. It can be a trying experience going to prison--as a visitor--but Centerforce, a nonprofit agency that offers prison visitors everything from a cup of coffee to bus fare, has stepped in to humanize the experience. "When people get sent to prison, there are so many other people that are victimized," said Annette Lorenzo, above, of Centerforce (B1).

MESSAGE OF HATE: About 180 notebooks stamped with a white supremacist message were found on the shelves of two Valley K mart stores, and now Burbank police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. . . . Investigators who called a phone number printed on the notebooks were greeted with a message that was "race-biased or promoted hatred of another race," said Burbank Police Lt. Van Miller. The notebooks were removed this weekend from K mart stores in Burbank and Sunland (B3).

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