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September 05, 1993|Jerry Hicks and Bob Elston and Sheila Kern

IF AT FIRST: The Los Angeles Rams may have to consider today's opener in Milwaukee against the Green Bay Packers (Special Section, V) an omen of sorts. . . . In the past dozen years, the Rams have had six winning seasons. In all of them, they won their opener. But in all six losing seasons--including the last three years--the Rams lost the first one. Their home debut: Sunday, Sept. 12, against Pittsburgh--tickets still available.

A NEW BREW? Here's how Rams scout Jack Faulkner assessed today's game for the Milwaukee Journal: "I'm glad we're playing at Milwaukee and not in this place," referring to a packed Lambeau Field in Green Bay, during the preseason. "Look at this crowd; wouldn't this excite you?" . . But Milwaukee hasn't been kind to the Rams. They're 1-5 against the Packers the past decade, losing all three of the games in the brewery city.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: At most Southern California attractions, it's considered heresy to release annual attendance figures. But at Mission San Juan Capistrano, even the swallows should be impressed with the numbers: Nearly 500,000 visitors a year now, almost double in six years. . . . Reason: "In past years, we attracted visitors by the sole reputation of the swallows' return," says a spokesman. But in 1987, a marketing team was hired to deliberately attract tourists. Its goal: 1 million visitors a year by 2000.

WATCH & READ: For years, Huntington Beach businesswoman Chris Calcinari was ashamed at her own low literacy rate: "I had trouble with my own business letters." But five years ago she started studying in literacy programs, mainly at the Newport Beach Public Library. Calcinari, 47, dramatically improved despite having dyslexia, and now she's consumed with helping others. . . . Today, she addresses the subject on separate TV shows: "Sign of the Times" at 11:30 a.m., Channel 11, and "Two the Point," at 2:30 p.m., Channel 2.

Rams Kick Off

The Los Angeles Rams open the season today, hoping for their first winning record since 1989.

Regular season wins-losses 1988: 10-6* 1989: 11-5* 1990: 5-11 1991: 3-13 1992: 6-10 * Made the playoffs

Source: Los Angeles Rams

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