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WESTSIDE WATCH

School Finds Safe Harbor For Grad Night Partying

July 03, 1994

Santa Monica High School graduates Wednesday night hopped aboard a Caribbean-bound ship that never left port.

But the would-be sailors didn't mind--it was a ship out of water.

Students had to pass through the large, wooden mock vessel--an oddity visible all week next to the school's practice field along 4th Street--to get to the "Samohi" gymnasium for a grad night celebration.

In line with the theme of the party, intended as a safe alternative to wild post-graduation bashes, the gym was outfitted with partitions decorated as an undersea tableau, a rain forest and a street bazaar.

It was the fourth year the school has held the event, sponsored by the city, the school's alumni association and the youths' parents.

"Grad night is the most dangerous night of the year for adolescents, and this was a way to keep them off the streets and give them a party," said Catherine Baxter, the school's activities director. "No one even got seasick."

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SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Forget that first debate between U.S. Rep. Anthony Beilenson(D-Woodland Hills) and attorney Richard Sybert, the GOP challenger, set for July 7 at the Warner Center Marriott and sponsored by the Valley Jewish Business Leaders Assn.

Beilenson, who is running for reelection in a district that includes Malibu and a portion of the Valley, has nixed it.

Beilenson's staff said the congressman did not know that it was a debate he was getting into. He thought it was a solo flight, a chance for him to mingle with local Jewish business leaders. When it turned into a debate, he did an about-face.

"He had a problem with it," said Michael Turner, public relations director for the event. "He wasn't going to show up if it was a debate, so we had to disinvite Sybert."

According to Craig Miller, a Beilenson political adviser, Beilenson is more than happy to debate Sybert, "but we're not going to allow Sybert to turn every appearance the congressman makes in the Valley into a debate."

Meanwhile, James Vaughn, Sybert's campaign manager, said the incident showed that Beilenson is "already ducking the debates" he had earlier promised to have with his GOP challenger.

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HE DELIVERS: Noble acts might be expected of police officers and firefighters. But postal workers?

Sure, if it's Lawrence Tilghman of the Beverly Hills Post Office.

At the Chamber of Commerce's recent annual awards ceremony, the letter carrier was recognized along with police officers and firefighters for going beyond the call of duty--in this case to rescue an elderly woman.

Tilghman had gone to check on the unidentified resident because she had not collected her mail from the previous day. Tilghman entered the home through an unlocked door and discovered that she had fallen. After moving her onto her bed, he found a neighbor to get help.

The deed occurred in 1991 and just recently came to the attention of the postal service.

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