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CHUCK & EMILY: Chuck Nicola hasn’t had...

CHUCK & EMILY: Chuck Nicola hasn’t had much experience with hurricanes. So why did Washington specifically request his help as Hurricane Emily approached the mid-Atlantic shores? Because the Orange County Fire Department battalion chief helped write the current book on search and rescue operations in disasters. . . . He helped find earthquake victims in Mexico City. And he was the first to speak to Buck Helm after Helm was found trapped on the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland’s 1989 quake.

HOW TO TELEPHONY: The kind voice on the phone asks your donation to help county firefighters. And who wouldn’t want to help such hard-working protectors of home and hearth? Except that the kind man on the phone doesn’t represent the firefighters. He just borrowed a name close enough to theirs to make you think he represents them. . . . County Fire Chief Larry Holms warns that a flurry of recent telephone solicitations on behalf of fire departments in the area are not what they seem: “If you have doubts, donate to the organizations that you know and trust.”

CLINTON WHEEL: Sandra Sutphen, chair of Cal State Fullerton’s political science and criminal justice division, left today for a White House briefing Thursday on President Clinton’s ideas for reorganizing and “reinventing government.” Sutphen said she was “thrilled” at the White House invitation but not entirely sure why she was asked. . . . “Perhaps it’s because I’m from a large, urban university,” says Sutphen. “I’ll find out when I get there.”

ERASE THAT: Almost everybody in Cypress agreed it was a great number for a hot line on catching graffiti taggers: 1-800 WE ERASE. Only problem is, when you call it, a Chicago businessman answers. Turns out city officials had gotten confused on what 800 number had been assigned to them. The real hot line is 1-800-464-ERAS. But don’t try calling it from outside Cypress. It only works when dialed from within the city boundaries.

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