VICTORY ISLAND: What are your thoughts on...

VICTORY ISLAND: What are your thoughts on a small ship with enemy firepower coming at you daily from land and air? William Ravely of Costa Mesa has never forgotten: "I thought I'd never see home again." . . . Only 19, he served on a U.S. Coast Guard ship off the volcanic-blackened beaches of Iwo Jima in 1945. . . . The 50th anniversary of that historic U.S. victory is this weekend (A3). . . . Ravely says it will be a special weekend for him and other veterans: "It was such a bloody battle. I was one of the lucky ones."

LOOKING BACK: Maybe Orange County is too urban for an old-fashioned barn-raising. But how about a one-day blacksmith shop? They're raising one Saturday at the Discovery Museum on Harvard Avenue in Santa Ana, where the historic Kellogg house is located. . . . "Our job is to give people a feel for life at the turn of the century," says spokeswoman Jo Ivey. This blacksmith shop will be kept busy: The Orange County Blacksmithing Guild will put on a demonstration there every third Sunday of the month.

HAVE A BALL: If you're in the boating crowd here, you know that the Commodore's Ball is the event of the year. At the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, it's not just commodore Doug White they're honoring at the annual bash Saturday night. . . . After lengthy negotiations, the 500-member club is the first in Newport Harbor to buy both its building and marina from the Irvine Co. Another cause for celebration: The club--one of 94 in the area--has won the 1994 trophy of the Southern California Yachting Assn. as Club of the Year.

BOOSTER CLUB: Borders Books and Music in Mission Viejo specializes in bestsellers and top names in jazz and classical music. Later this year, you can see there works from artists funded by the National Endowment of the Arts. . . . Its parent company announced Thursday it will promote NEA in its stores and with financial gifts. Says a spokesman: "Supporting the arts is essential to their survival."

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