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VALLEY NEWSWATCH

March 30, 1997|John Johnson and Jose Cardenas and Eric Slater

Egg-cellent Sales: Although that favorite Easter object, the egg, was much maligned in the late 1980s by cholesterol-phobes, Californians are increasing their consumption, thanks in part to a massive industry advertising campaign. . . . The average person now consumes 240 eggs a year, up from a low of 228 in 1990, according to the California Egg Commission.

Heaven's Gateway: A Studio City home hosted one of the earliest recruiting sessions for what became the Heaven's Gate cult, whose members committed suicide last week in Rancho Santa Fe. Joan Culpepper, a spiritualist and onetime advertising executive, opened her home in the spring of 1975 to a mysterious man and woman known as "The Two." By evening's end, two dozen converts were ready to join Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles on their journey to a higher world. None of those early converts died in last week's ritual suicide (A24).

Sky Pilot: First spotted two years ago, comet Hale-Bopp has proved to be a big hit with amateur astronomers (B1), providing far more thrills than previous celestial busts, such as Kohoutek. Now is the perfect time to see the heavenly traveler, which is at peak visibility and will remain so through early April. For best viewing locations, see Valley Briefing, B2.

Soccer Memorial: The fourth annual memorial soccer tournament in honor of Duncan Gibbins, the British film producer and amateur soccer player who died in the 1993 Topanga Canyon fire, was held Saturday in Woodland Hills. This year four teams participated. Gibbins' old team, the Wanderers, won.

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