County Budget Cuts May Mean Closure of 5 South Bay Libraries

LIBRARIES CLOSE: Running low on cash, Los Angeles County plans to temporarily close five South Bay libraries starting in August unless it can come up with additional funds by the end of next week.

The Hermosa Beach, Lawndale and Lennox libraries, along with Wiseburn Library in Hawthorne and Victoria Park Library in Carson, are among 43 libraries the county says it may close for an indefinite period.

The other county libraries in the South Bay--in Carson, Gardena, Hawthorne, Lomita and Manhattan Beach--will remain open, but their hours will be reduced. These reductions will vary from library to library. The Lomita branch will be hit hardest; it will remain open just two days a week, or 14 hours. The Hawthorne library will suffer the least; it will operate four days a week, seven hours each day.

School officials say the cuts will hurt students the most.

"In a community like ours, reading material in homes is sparse," said Marlene Wilson, director of instruction for the Lennox Elementary school district.

Wilson said teachers in the district have encouraged students to get library cards and take advantage of what books had to offer. "Now we will have to explain why it is no longer a resource for them," Wilson said. "It's going to be a tremendous loss for our kids."

Sue Cowen, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Public Library, said that while the public outcry against closing county parks has been deafening, people rarely complain about library closings until after the fact.

"Last year, when we closed 10 libraries, (school officials and parents) called complaining," Cowen said. "I asked them, where were you months ago? The writing was on the wall."

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FUTURE ENTREPRENEUR: Kevin Maeda, a sophomore at Torrance's North High, took first-place honors in the Introduction to Business competition held in Washington, D.C., earlier this month at the Future Business Leaders of America conference.

Maeda's trek to Washington began last spring when he competed with students from 71 schools in Southern California in the FBLA regional competition. He finished fourth, and then went on to the state competition, where he finished first.

Since North High school doesn't offer an introductory business course, Maeda had to teach himself.

"Kevin took the materials I gave him, and he learned it on his own," said business teacher Karl Wanous, an adviser for North High's FBLA chapter.

The 90 students who competed in the national event took a 100-question multiple-choice test that evaluated their knowledge of basic business principals. Wanous said he admired Maeda's initiative. "He even went to the mall and bought an intro to business book, which he studied cover to cover. He is a highly motivated individual."

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HOSPITAL SCHOLARSHIPS: The South Bay Hospital Auxiliary has given more than $20,000 in scholarships to local high school students hoping to pursue careers in health care.

American Medical International, the company that leases South Bay Hospital, donated $10,000 to the scholarship program. The rest of the money came from bake sales, gift shop revenues and private donations.

The winners of the 1993 scholarships were Otilia Espinoza and Adrienne Lao, of Bishop Montgomery High School; Kelly Stever of Mira Costa High; James Lewis, Son Nguyen, Robert Ohashi and Linh Vuong of North High; Karlyn Clifton and Heather Teodoro of Redondo Union High; Shannon Blough of South High; Peggy Han and Rene Oda of Torrance High, and Angel Lee, David Lee and Caleb Tang of West High.

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ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: Barbara Fiege of El Segundo has become the first woman appointed director of interscholastic athletics for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

An athletic director and coach at Belmont High School in Los Angeles since 1981, Fiege will be responsible for administering the athletic programs for the district's 56 high schools. Her duties will include coordinating and scheduling all interscholastic sports competitions, revising the sports rule book and settling sports-related disputes between schools.

In addition, Fiege will become one of nine California Interscholastic Federation commissioners, who develop policy for high schools throughout the state. Fiege, who will start her job Oct. 11, joined the district in 1975 as a physical education teacher at Dorsey High.

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INGLEWOOD APPOINTEE: Vivian Shannon, principal of Centinela Elementary School in Inglewood, has been chosen to fill a two-year term on the Los Angeles County Board of Education. Shannon was named to the post by County Supervisor Yvonne Burke. She is also Inglewood's representative to Rebuild LA.

Items for the weekly Class Notes column can be mailed to The Times South Bay office, 23133 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 200, Torrance 90505, or faxed to (310) 373-5753 to the attention of staff reporter Carol Chastang.

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