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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH

August 18, 1995|Jerry Hicks and April Jackson and Bill Billiter

HALOS EARNED: Remember all those years the Angels lost because of a wimpy batting lineup? Nobody dares kick sand at them this year. . . . Chili Davis is second in the league in hitting (.338). Jim Edmonds and Tim Salmon between them have 56 home runs and 175 runs batted in, making them the American League's top slugging duo. And the team is first or second in most hitting categories. . . . The playoff-bound Angels host East Division teams the next 10 games. In order: the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.

LOSING GROUND: What a difference a year makes: Last year, Money magazine ranked Orange County 73rd on its list of the 300 best metropolitan places to live in the United States. This year: just 88th. The ranking is based on economy, crime, housing, education and weather. Blame the bankruptcy? Maybe not. San Diego fell even further--from 11th to 86th. . . . No. 1: Gainesville, Fla. And dead last: Yuba City, Calif. Says Yuba City resident Don Harger: "These studies are garbage."

DRUG SMART? Huntington Beach has been able to pay for nine police officers in each of the past few years from money raised through seizing drug dealers' assets. But last year such assets dwindled down to paying for just five officers. . . . The main reason, explains Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg: "Violators are getting smarter and doing a better job at hiding their assets. It's a more difficult job to seize them."

HOSPITAL HI-JINKS: If you're looking for a really different fund-raising gimmick, how about this one in La Palma: street racing of hospital beds. The City Council approved it this week for its annual fall civic celebration. Teams, backed by corporate donors, will race beds and "patients" down city streets. . . . Where did such a notion come from? La Palma Intercommunity Hospital staffer Gary Montgomery, who thought of it "after seeing a bed and patient being raced to surgery."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Angels Flying

The California Angels are batting their way to first place in the American League. As of Thursday:

Total runs: 634 (1st)

Runs batted in: 610 (1st)

Average runs per game: 6.1 (1st)

Home runs: 144 (2nd)

Team batting average: .286 (2nd)

Source: The American League

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