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VENTURA COUNTY NEWSWATCH

February 07, 1996|Lynne Barnes and Steve Henson

SEEING RED: The California Highway Patrol's yearly crackdown on Ventura County drivers with expired license plates is underway. This year, the blitz is called the "Red Alert," since those red '95 stickers should be covered up with either green for '96 or white for '97. . . . The white stickers are new, CHP spokesman David Cockrill said, adding that they're "kind of weird, because they almost blend in with the white plates." If you need an incentive, the fine for driving with expired tags is $136.

OFF THE HOOK: Allegations that Oxnard girls' basketball Coach Ryle Lynch-Cole improperly recruited players were deemed unfounded by an independent investigator hired by the Oxnard Union High School District (C6). . . . Lynch-Cole had been accused of rules violations in a letter signed by all seven rival Channel League coaches. "It's a sad situation, and even coaching against these guys has been awkward," Lynch-Cole said. "But you live and learn."

CHANGE OF SCENE: Workers in the county medical examiner's office can't wait to move from their makeshift morgue into a high-tech facility (B4). When the medical examiners office was created in 1974, it handled 1,000 deaths a year. Last year, it handled 2,400. . . . His job offers special challenges, says county Medical Examiner Ron O'Halloran. "We are faced with the question of how a person died. It's like solving a puzzle," he says. But "you only get one chance."

READY REFERENCE: Nagiko Sato Kiser, who retired in 1993 as head librarian at Camarillo State Hospital, arrived at the facility in 1985 to closure rumors. But a recent proposal by Gov. Pete Wilson to shut down the facility has her worried: "This time it sounds like the state is more definite." . . . In the past few years, the hospital library has become a home for reference materials used by all 10 state mental institutions, Kiser said, adding that if CSH is closed, they would have to be moved again.

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