HE'S BACK: Former President Richard Nixon's place...

HE'S BACK: Former President Richard Nixon's place in history seems to be growing more secure in the days after his funeral. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll begun three days after the burial found that Americans ranked him the most important President of the last six in office. And a whopping 73% said his presidency was "on the whole good for America.". . . . But his popularity does have its limits: John F. Kennedy still swamped him in the poll by a margin of 2-1.

BABIES: Planned Parenthood of Orange County now considers curbing teen pregnancies to be its most critical priority. . . . From 1982 to 1992, the county experienced a 62% increase in teen births, and organization officials see the trend continuing. The problem will be underlined this week at the group's annual fund-raising luncheon, keynoted by Alexander C. Sanger, grandson of founder Margaret Sanger. Says spokeswoman Sherri D. Zack: "We need to start taking a more active role."

MOM'S COOKING: Antonio Cagnolo, owner of Antonello Ristorante in Santa Ana, likes to take the advice of his mom, Pina, especially at this time of year. . . . Every year for Mother's Day (D1) he flies her in from Italy to help develop new recipes and offer tips on the old. "When she comes here, there's no escaping," says Cagnolo, 42, who credits his interest in fine food to his mother's cooking. This year's critique began with her arrival several weeks ago. Says the restaurateur: "She puts me through the wringer."

CHEAP LABOR: In Corona del Mar, Carmelo's Ristorante is looking closer to home for help. . . . To benefit Corona del Mar High School, restaurant owner Carmelo Manto invited 16 students to provide service, some cooking and live music for 100 guests. The results: $880 for school activities and a new singing duo--called Tim and Mike--now performing on Sundays. As for the rest: "They were great," Manto says. "I believe this summer I'll hire some of them."

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