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VENTURA COUNTY NEWSWATCH

August 18, 1995|Gregory W. Griggs

GET A JOB: July's unemployment data is due out today and the figure will likely be higher than June's 6.8% rate. "July usually goes up because of lower farm employment and kids getting out of school," says Sonja Speer, a state labor analyst. But UC Santa Barbara economist Mark Schniepp remains upbeat, saying Ventura County's jobless rate was nearly a full percentage point lower, on average, through June than in 1994's first half. "In July, 1994, the [unemployment] figure was 9.1%, so all we have to do is beat 9.1 and we're improved."

FEMME FATALE: Firearms proponent Paxton Quigley preached the benefits of female gun ownership Thursday night to East Ventura County National Rifle Assn. members (B1). Pistol makers sell to women "based on the idea that they should live in fear and the appropriate way to overcome that fear is to carry a small, concealable handgun," argues Sandy Cooney of the regional office of Handgun Control Inc. But Sean Richardson, manager of Shooters Paradise in Oxnard, says the preferred defense weapon for local women is pepper spray--10 times as many women get trained to use the Mace-like spray each month than buy guns.

ELVIS SIGHTING: Devoted fans are commemorating the death of Elvis Presley, who passed away 18 years ago this week. But few feel as close to the legend as Raymond Michael Hebel, who has portrayed Presley for 23 years. "Truthfully, I look nothing like him . . . but with the right makeup, I look close enough," says the 41-year-old Moorpark singing teacher, who is set to give a free performance Sept. 9 in Camarillo's Constitution Park.

STAY SOBER: Oxnard police will stage a sobriety checkpoint again tonight, this time in the northern end of town. These stops, averaging 10 to 15 seconds, help reduce drunk driving and ensure that motorists have driver's licenses on them and are wearing seat belts. "The 10 seconds is insignificant when you look at the goal, which is to get these killers off the road," says Officer Ken Klopman, who helps coordinate the program.

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