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People and Events

<i> From Staff and Wire Reports</i>

It may seem like only yesterday that Columbus discovered the New World, but 1992 will actually mark the 500th anniversary of his visit. And Los Angeles, though sometimes described as being in its own world, is planning a celebration.

Mayor Tom Bradley says the bash will remind us that “as we look back, we must look forward with the same boldness exhibited by Columbus and his crew. . . . " Bradley boldly hopes to be enjoying his 20th year as mayor that year, though he once campaigned for a two-term limit for his office.

Columbus, of course, never reached Southern California. The first explorer to sight the mainland here was Portugal’s Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who spotted a haze created by Indian campfires in 1542.

He named the area Bahia de los Fumos (Bay of Smokes). Historians believe he was referring to either San Pedro or Santa Monica, but neither area claims the honor.

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In any case, Cabrillo became the first in a long line of observers to make a nasty crack about Southern California.

Just another day on the freeways: “If you’re in need of some high-heel shoes, we have them in all traffic lanes of the eastbound 10,” California Highway Patrol Officer Janice Moeller announced after a spill on the San Bernardino Freeway in the Baldwin Park area.

There were no reports of takers. Maybe the colors were wrong.

The mystery of what (or who) killed Nancy Taylor’s cockroaches continues. She found their little bodies in her back yard after the Westside was sprayed with malathion during the recent Medfly infestation.

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She then persuaded the county Agriculture Department to perform autopsies on 68 roaches. “I want to find out if they’re protecting the agricultural industry at the expense of the neighborhood’s health,” she said.

Alas, there was a communications mix-up.

She believed the county was going to test the contents of the roaches’ stomachs. But Gary Maxwell, a supervising agricultural inspector, said such a check would be, well, difficult. “We’d have to wash the malathion off each one and then grind them up,” he explained.

Maxwell admitted that ingestion of malathion could have killed the roaches--something authorities denied earlier--but said such a finding wouldn’t mean that the substance is hazardous to humans.

Taylor isn’t satisfied. She said she’s looking for an independent laboratory.

“Luckily, I had 151 roaches in all, so I still have some left in my freezer,” she explained.

There have been some hard day’s nights for Beatles fans lately. First, the star of the late John Lennon was smeared on Hollywood Boulevard.

Then, the other day, three trees dedicated to the Fab Four were chopped down in Griffith Park. The fallen were among 23 orange-and-yellow-flowering trees planted behind the merry-go-round. “They’re in memory of the line, ‘Tangerine trees and marmalade skies,’ from the song ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,’ ” said landscape designer Jon Earl.

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But the Beatles will get a little help from their friends in the city.

The trees will be replanted, Earl said.

When the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday honored Andre Phillips, a gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles in the Seoul Olympics, Phillips thanked the “city of Los Angeles.”

When he realized his mistake, Phillips apologized.

But Supervisor Kenneth Hahn pointed out, “You know who also said that? Sandy Koufax. You’re in good company.”

Chatsworth “used to double for desert prairies in many of the old Hollywood Westerns,” says the narrator in a Murray Sinclair mystery. “When I was little, I’d watched so many lousy cowboy pictures on the late show and the weekend matinees, I almost had a feeling that I knew the place without having been there before. L.A. had always been that way with me. . . . “

From the novel, “Only in L.A.”

Next, the movie?

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