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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

May 22, 1994

QUAKE HOT LINE: Still shaking from the Northridge quake? If so, a new hot line offers help. The U. S. Geological Survey, Federal Emergency Management Agency and others have set up a toll-free number, (800) TREMOR2, people can call for advice on how to reduce the risk from another quake. . . . "Earthquakes can be terrifying," said Peter Ward, a USGS scientist. "But we do not lie helpless in their path."

THAT'S DEDICATION: Al Merkel apparently wasn't teed off when a pickup truck lost its brakes and crashed into his Cadillac Sedan de Ville parked at the Oakmont Country Club in Glendale. According to the Associated Press, Merkel, 65, left his golf game only long enough to survey the damage. . . . Then, he returned to the fairway, saying "Nothing I can do here."

URBAN GARDEN: Immigrants from many nations grow fruits and vegetables not found in many local supermarkets on the Arleta Community Garden Club's 7 1/2-acre plot. Fava beans, bitter melons and purple basil are but a few of the crops grown here by the club's 95 members. . . . Above, Mel Vargas, club president, waters his vegetable crop (B1).

TOP STUDENT: Too often, the only teen-agers saluted run fast, throw hard or jump high. But USA Today recognizes students who use their minds. They call it the All-USA Academic team, and one student who made the third squad is David Golombek, 17, of Hart High in Santa Clarita. . . . Said Golombek, who plans to attend MIT: "I'm very pleased. That's tough competition."

THEY'RE BAD: For two decades, the support of a political organization named BAD, headed by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), has been key to winning legislative seats. But BAD, once quick to king-make, has yet to endorse anyone in two important Assembly races. . . . Some say the organization is regrouping after a 1992 election season when three of its top candidates lost (A3).

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