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The week ahead

August 11, 2008

A look at upcoming events:

Today

Freeway noise: The Orange County Transportation Authority considers a report on the noise-reduction effectiveness of rubberized asphalt rather than sound walls on a stretch of the Garden Grove Freeway.

Tuesday

Capistrano trial: A jury trial is set for former Capistrano Unified Supt. James Fleming and former Assistant Supt. Susan McGill in connection with their alleged compiling of an "enemies" list of people supporting a recall of district trustees in 2005. Fleming is accused of misusing public funds; McGill is charged with perjury; both are charged with conspiracy.

Jail immigration: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors reviews a report by Sheriff Lee Baca on undocumented immigrants housed in the sheriff's custody facilities and discusses a recommendation to require chain restaurants to post nutritional and caloric information on menus.

Korean investment: Korean financial officials announce an investment fund to promote joint ventures between the Hollywood and Korean entertainment communities.

Wednesday

Bus changes: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority holds a public hearing to gather input on proposed bus service changes. La Cienega Tennis Center in Beverly Hills.

Thursday

Ballot: L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan holds a public drawing to determine ballot positions for candidates for state legislative races included on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Friday

Harvest Crusade: Evangelist Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade festival begins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Saturday

Candidates meet: John McCain and Barack Obama make their first joint appearance of the presidential campaign in a forum at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.

African celebration: The African Marketplace and Cultural Faire, which celebrates the influence of Africa through art and commerce, occurs at Rancho Cienega Park.

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Ask a reporter

The bronze bust of George Douglas Freeth Jr. was stolen from the Redondo Beach Pier. Who was Freeth?

He was a Hawaiian who introduced surfing and water polo to Southern California and was the region's first official lifeguard.

Freeth came to California in 1907, at age 23, to promote Hawaiian tourism. Beachgoers were awed by the man riding the waves just off Venice on a 200-pound, 8-foot wood surfboard. Billed as "the man who walked on water," Freeth was the first person to hang 10 -- walk the nose of the surfboard.

He also taught swimming and diving and trained young swimmers to become lifeguards, showing them how to use rip currents to speed them out to victims. The technique is still used today.

When a fishing boat began sinking in heavy surf near the Venice Pier in 1908, Freeth swam out and hauled seven fishermen to shore, then kept the remaining four afloat until a lifeboat could rescue them.

Two years later, he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor for bravery, for his lifesaving techniques, which were being adopted nationwide.

And remember "Baywatch"? Freeth invented the original version of those red, torpedo-shaped rescue buoys.

By the time he died in the 1919 influenza pandemic, Freeth had a permanent place in California culture.

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