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Bingo, New Floor

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Local square dancers were floored when they heard that Elaine’s, the scene of their weekly do-si-dos in Granada Hills, was being turned into a bingo hall.

Four groups affiliated with the Associated Square Dancers Assn. had used that floor for years, said Joy Myers, the association’s senior director. “We didn’t want them to have to break up, so we gave them a hand,” she said.

As it turned out, they gave many.

Le Club, a gymnastics organization in Northridge, was willing to let association clubs rent its hall after 7:30 p.m., but there was a problem.

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The floor was not suited to the pounding it would get from 60 happy, stomping feet.

No problem.

Square dancers are always ready to help one another, Myers said, so the association, which represents 100 clubs between the Oregon and Nevada borders and the San Fernando Valley, got donations for flooring and assistance from members to install it.

Now four Valley clubs--the Moonlighters, the Lads and Lassies, the Bachelors and Bachelorettes, and the Stemwinders--have a new stomping ground, and the Silver Dollars will be swinging in soon.

Going Native

For 31 years, Arnie Miller was a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District before retiring and going native. But the former Monroe High School science and social studies instructor didn’t head for the South Pacific. He headed for the hills.

Miller is in charge of a new program to introduce Southern California third- and fourth-graders to the Chumash Indians, who once lived in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The program--sponsored by the National Park Service--features a replica Chumash village with a reconstructed Chumash thatch house as well as storytelling and arts and crafts.

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Miller said the main point of the program is to show how dependent the Chumash were on the natural environment, and possibly to show how dependent contemporary city dwellers are on the ecosystem.

“The Chumash lived successfully for 1,000 years in and around the Santa Monica Mountains,” Miller said, “but they would not be able to live off the land as we know it today, in spite of the fact that they were very sophisticated people. The natural environment has changed too much.”

Miller said the Chumash didn’t have to spend a lot of time hunting, fishing and growing food because everything was so readily accessible. So they traded for goods and services with visiting tribes and made baskets.

“Their baskets were known at one time all over the world and are in museums in places like Russia and France, as well as the United States,” Miller said.

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The newly created Chumash village is at the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa site in Newbury Park, where the National Park Service’s Native American Indian Culture Center, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, is also located.

“On Sundays, we have native Americans come and talk about their tribes and often we ask Charlie Cooke, a hereditary chief of the Chumash, to lead a walk and discuss how his people related to the land,” Miller said.

The village, Miller added, is considered a work in progress.

There is one ap , a thatch house, constructed “and we will be building more as we expand,” Miller said.

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He added that the youth program--which is being scheduled every Tuesday--is open to youngsters in all public and private schools, and that their teachers may call the National Park Service in Agoura for information and reservations.

On Expedition

The Jean-Pierre Dutilleux exhibition at the Tower Gallery in Sherman Oaks is not only about selling prints, but about protecting an isolated tribe of South American Indians.

According to gallery manager Elizabeth Sahyoun, it works this way:

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“The Kayapo tribe, which lives deep in the Amazon rain forest, have not made much contact with outside civilization,” she said.

“A group in Belgium called Project Liberty is going to try to make contact with these people in order to mark the boundaries of their territories, boundaries the Brazilian government has sworn to protect so the tribe will not become extinct.

“It seems there are a lot of loggers and developers who would love to get their hands on that land.”

To help raise funds for the expedition, the gallery will donate 10% of its sales of the $200 prints to Project Liberty, Sahyoun said.

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She said all this came about because Dutilleux, a noted Belgian nature photographer, has more than an artistic interest in the rain forest.

He started the international Rainforest Foundation with rock star Sting, she said, and “has been very active in both photographing and trying to protect the environment there.” The exhibit of his works will continue indefinitely.

Fancy Digs

It’s hard to tell what the Chumash might have thought of the new housing available on land they once occupied.

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Chumash dwellings had limited room, no indoor plumbing, no central air and cost nothing but muscle to build.

The Hidden Hills Estates houses, on the other hand, are from 6,800 to more than 9,500 square feet, have multiple marble-laden bathrooms that include bidets and sometimes fireplaces, and cost between $2.7 million and $3.9 million.

You can have Bob Zuckerman’s Continental Communities build one to your specifications. This means that you get to pick from models you want and choose what you want on the walls, fireplaces and floors in the way of wood, marble and wallpaper. You also get to pick whether you want a one-acre lot, a three-acre lot or something in between.

Hidden Hills is that gated community between Calabasas and Woodland Hills. Zuckerman says it is the Valley’s oldest “private community,” and describes the people who live there as distinguished residents who prefer the seclusion of a quiet, country lifestyle in an area that nevertheless is near the Valley’s commercial centers and major studios.

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Now that you are counting your pennies, let’s see what you actually get.

There are 62 sites suitable for building in this new little enclave. According to the developer, each will accommodate a tennis court, a swimming pool and/or paddocks and corrals. There will be seven miles of riding trails and a recreation center with an equestrian ring and two north-south tennis courts.

The three models are the Del Mar, a 6,875-square-foot, five-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath Italian-style villa; the Belmont, a 7,094-square-foot, five-bedroom, 5 1/2-bath English Tudor-style mansion, and the San Augustin, a 9,535-square-foot, six-bedroom, nine-bath house. According to the builder, it is meant to look like a classic Amalfi seaside villa.

At an open house recently, a woman who had walked into the Belmont looked as though she wasn’t ever going to leave. “Look at the paneling on the walls, and rooms the size of our whole house. It really looks like it could be a grand home in the English countryside,” she rhapsodized. “It even has deep window seats in the children’s bedrooms and a billiards room downstairs.”

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Her husband observed that they’d never been to England, didn’t play billiards, didn’t have children and certainly didn’t have $3 million or $4 million.

“I know it’s sinful to lust after material things,” she confided to another enraptured looky-loo. “But I’d give anything to live in this house. Even my husband,” she said, laughing.

“Even Kevin Costner.”

Overheard

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“Now that the troops are coming home, I guess that means the President and I both have to get back to balancing the budget.”

--A Northridge woman

to a neighbor


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