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VENTURA COUNTY NEWSWATCH

October 14, 1994|Adrianne Goodman

UP AND DOWN: Ventura County mopped up after its first skirmish with malathion in the war against the Medfly (B1) . . . But the roller-coaster ride may have just begun for the county's farmers. After a bleak year in 1992, crop sales hit $848 million last year. Throw in the Medfly, however, and the financial future looks murky for farmers . . . The success of eradication efforts and this winter's weather are factors. It may be 1996 before the impact is known, said farm bureau head Rex Laird. "We're not going to walk away from this unscathed," he said.

HAITI TALK: Census figures for 1990 show there were only 18 people of Haitian descent living in Ventura County. But the tiny nation has moved to the world's center stage as it struggles for democracy . . . Events in Haiti will be tonight's topic when the local World Affairs Council hosts Guillermo Belt, special adviser to the secretary general of the Organization of American States. . . . A lawyer and former professor, Belt is "a heavy hitter" in Caribbean affairs, said council head Cindy Cooke.

AMGEN MONEY: Seven months after Gov. Pete Wilson toured Amgen, the giant Thousand Oaks biotechnology firm has donated $25,000 toward the governor's reelection campaign, county finance statements show . . . Amgen officials were unavailable for comment, but the Wilson camp, eager to beef up the incumbent's pro-business image, welcomed the donation.

SHOOT OUT: Simi Valley is looking to open its first indoor shooting range (B5), a move that could squelch future complaints from city residents who had worried that a proposed outdoor range would be too noisy . . . Rifle owners, however, often need wide-open space to fire their long-range weapons, said Bob Railey of Ventura's Coast Gun Shop. Indoor ranges have advantages such as lighting and, usually, longer operating hours. But for rifle practice, "you need the great outdoors," he said.

Cash Crop

Annual revenue from Ventura County's major crops for 1993 (in millions):

Lemons: $216

Celery: $114

Strawberries: $111

Nursery stock: $82

Avocados: $50

Valencia oranges: $45

Lettuce: $29

Cut flowers: $23

Broccoli: $13

Cabbage: 49

Source: Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner

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