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STAMP-EDE: The cost of a first-class letter...

STAMP-EDE: The cost of a first-class letter rises from 29 cents to 32 cents today, but there are a lot of ways to lick the problem. . . . In addition to providing a 32-cent “G-stamp,” the Postal Service is still accepting old stamps--if you add a 3-cent stamp. “It’s a crazy time,” says Burbank postmaster Michael Martino. But “if you have an old 22-cent stamp and you bought a 9-cent stamp, you’d still have your 32 cents in stamps.”

VALLEY VIEWS: How is the Valley perceived? According to the year-end issue of Newsweek, “the Valley is making a name for itself with clashes over immigration.” Residents continue to divide among racial and economic lines, including artificial freeway barriers that used to disturb many, the magazine says. “Now people are glad those barriers are there,” Encino activist Gerald Silver told the magazine .

LOOKING BACK: 1994 was an extraordinary year for Southern California, starting with the Jan. 17 earthquake and ending with Orange County’s bankruptcy. In between, as told in the year in review, there was the arrest of O. J. Simpson after a mesmerizing freeway chase (B1) . . . Above, a resident of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex surveys the post-quake wreckage, which claimed the lives of 16 of his neighbors.

DECISIONS . . . : Think choosing a winner from the Rose Parade floats is tricky? Just be glad you aren’t Stephen Pettsie. . . . As an executive with International House of Pancakes in Glendale, Pettsie helped pick the company’s float from 7,400 customer suggestions in a nationwide contest. The winner: an equestrian theme. “It took three days,” says Pettsie.

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LOOK HARDER: For those who complain that there is no good place to eat in the Valley . . . there are at least 76. That’s the number of recommended eateries listed locally in the 1995 Zagat Survey of Southern California Restaurants. The best meal under $5: Zankou Chicken in Van Nuys and Glendale.


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