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Westside Watch

Yogurt Stunt a Sundae Dive at the Beach

June 22, 1995

Here's a publicity stunt with no redeeming social value. Hooray!

This high-class event took place on the beach at Malibu's Paradise Cove last weekend. The premise was simple: Take a huge vat of melted yogurt, add a dozen professional daredevils and let the high jinks roll.

Formally dressed in tuxedos and bow ties, the stunt artists parachuted into the vat from an airplane, zipped in on in-line skates, splashed in from bungee cords and flipped, twisted and somersaulted off a pair of trampolines.

"It really was just for fun," said Andrea Hanson, who helped organize the messy activity to mark National Frozen Yogurt Month.

Five thousand gallons of berry-favored goop were sacrificed for the cause. Then a tanker took it away.

"It was properly disposed of," Hanson said. "You won't be finding any bow ties in your yogurt."

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NOW YOU SEE IT . . .: Did you use the Waterford Street off-ramp from the southbound San Diego Freeway? Well, you can't any more.

The little-trafficked exit to Brentwood was closed June 2 after a study by Caltrans and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation showed that fewer than 50 drivers took advantage of it during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

It may never open to traffic again, mainly because of the lack of use and the cost of maintenance. And what was that cost? Caltrans spokesman Rick Holland could not say, but it includes repaving and landscaping.

The decision was welcomed by neighbors who have long complained about freeway traffic on their narrow residential street.

"When the freeway is backed up, everyone gets off here," said Linda Seltzer, a 15-year resident.

"On holidays we can't even go out into the front yard, it's so loud and unpleasant. Hopefully, this will be a permanent closure."

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TEN-HUT!: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf has been named to command a fund-raising effort for the Starbright Foundation, which is looking for high-tech ways to help chronically ill kids deal with pain, stress and extended hospital stays.

The objective: Raise $60 million for the West Los Angeles-based foundation, whose commander in chief--er, that is, chairman of the board--is none other than movie mogul Steven Spielberg.

Schwarzkopf, who directed the Allied forces in the Gulf War, will hold the rank of chairman of the capital campaign.

"The medical regimen faced by seriously ill children is often less devastating than the loss of their childhood," he said.

"I have the opportunity to play an integral part in enhancing the lives of these children," he said. "It is my honor to accept this role, and I look forward to challenging corporate America to embrace this important endeavor."

Formed in 1991, the Starbright Foundation is working to develop several "entertainment interventions," including a virtual reality network that will allow children to communicate with their peers in other hospitals around the world.

Children will be able to choose a cartoon character to represent them in what Starbright staffers call a "virtual reality play space."

Other projects include CD-ROMs devoted to individual diseases. The disks would help teach youngsters about their maladies and how treatment helps fight them.

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