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VENTURA COUNTY NEWSWATCH

March 18, 1994|Kenneth R. Weiss

TOXIC SHOCK: It's becoming a familiar scene in Ventura County's oil-rich fields: an oily substance leaks from a corroded pipeline. Authorities accuse the oil company of failing to promptly report the spill. This time, it is one of the largest oil-related spills in county history (B1), with an estimated 370,000 gallons unleashed from a Texaco pipeline just north of Ventura . . . . It is still dwarfed by the 1969 blowout of the Union Oil platform offshore Santa Barbara, which disgorged 3.2 million gallons that reached Ventura beaches. Oil-soaked straw used in its cleanup lies buried in Bailard Landfill.

INSULT TO INJURY: For some patients, a costly visit to the hospital emergency room can seem like highway robbery. In some cases, they may not be far from the truth. . . . Oxnard police have arrested an emergency room clerk suspected of stealing credit cards from sick or injured patients. The 26-year-old woman is accused of using stolen cards to charge more than $10,000 worth of clothes at upscale stores.

LOSE FOR THE GIPPER: Former President Ronald Reagan made an unusual attack on a Republican candidate, saying he was "getting pretty steamed" over Oliver North's false statements in his Virginia Senate campaign regarding the Iran-Contra affair (A15) . . . . Although the Iran-Contra probe ended in December, the million pages of White House documents on the topic have yet to be shipped from D.C. to the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. . . . "We will be happy to get them," said archivist Rod Soubers. "It will make the historical record complete."

SWEET SIXTEEN: He shuns junk food. He rises at 5 a.m. to run for 45 minutes. After school, he trains three hours a day at the Oxnard Boys Club. . . . And, last week, Fernando Vargas punched his way through a gang of older, more experienced boxers to win the 132-pound division and become the youngest national amateur champion ever (C12). . . . The victory guarantees this 16-year-old a spot in the U.S. Olympic Trials for 1996.

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