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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

February 16, 1996|David E. Brady and Jon D. Markman and Danica Kirka

CARRYING THE TORCH: It's just a half-mile run, but when the day comes, they'll be running into history as Olympic torchbearers (B1). . . . "I think I was only more excited when my children were born and when I got married," gushed Greg Oakes of Lancaster, one of 80 Southern California residents selected Thursday to carry the torch on its way to Atlanta. . . . The torch arrives in Los Angeles from Greece on April 27.

ONE WORLD: More than 1,200 people are expected at Forest Lawn's Hollywood Hills cemetery today to mourn the seven members of an Iranian Armenian family who died in a Glendale fire last week. Jim Lucero, owner of the Smokehouse Restaurant in Burbank, contributed more than half of the $21,000 burial costs. . . . "We are one community, and that's the human community," he said.

HIGH ACHIEVER: He's got a 4.64 grade-point average and is at the top of his class at Burbank High. But Matt Baker, above, is also a star outside the classroom. He'll lead Burbank's basketball team into the Southern Section Division I-A playoffs tonight (C10).

NEW GYM: Long after the Northridge earthquake demolished its gymnasium, Hart High School is finally about to get another. On Thursday, the Newhall school broke ground on a $4.8-million gym. . . . But many quake repairs remain: The auditorium and administration building must also be replaced. "It's frustrating," Principal Laurence Strauss admits.

STILL WAITING: Speaking of delays, the Santa Clarita City Council postponed a decision this week on the 996-acre Porta Bella development. "I remember when you came in here. You were a young man," Councilman George Pederson quipped to developer Sam Veltri. "Now you're seated with gray hair all around you." . . . The council will vote on the development Feb. 27.

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