ROUGH START? Federal cutbacks are the talk...

ROUGH START? Federal cutbacks are the talk of Washington, and Reneta Peterson, a director for the preschool Head Start program here, says there is reason to worry: "I'm afraid programs like Head Start would be the first to hit the cutting-room floor." That would come at a bad time locally. . . . The federally funded, nonprofit program for the low-income has grown 60% since 1990. And Peterson says with county layoffs, its waiting list--already in the hundreds--could grow even more.

THEY'LL SEE: What's a political spring tea and fashion show without your party's best doing the modeling? The Balboa Bay Republican Women have such an event planned Thursday in Santa Ana Heights, and the celebrity line-up includes county GOP Chairman Thomas Fuentes, plus County Supervisors Marian Bergeson and Jim Silva. . . . Confirmation from the two supervisors, however, is conditional: It depends on how those critical county budget hearings are going.

WALK ON BY: It was a perfect auction item for Chapman University President James Doti--after all, says his wife, Lynne Pierson, "He usually falls for the weirdest stuff." To benefit the American-British Air Museum, Doti paid $600 for a walk-on part on Fox TV's steamy "Melrose Place." . . . . Doti says he really thought it would be fun, but finally donated the walk-on spot to a theater arts student. The lucky recipient: Chris Spinelli, 23, a senior, who says, "I've been hooked on the show for a couple of years."

HERO/GOAT? The baseball strike is giving Doug Saunders, who carried a hot .481 batting average as a second-baseman at Esperanza High in 1988, a second chance at the major leagues. The former New York Mets utility infielder had to feel great Monday, when he hit a grand slam home run to help his replacement Oakland Athletics win. . . . But the celebration was over Tuesday: His team lost--after Saunders hit into a triple play.


Getting a Head Start

The number of Orange County preschoolers in Head Start has grown by 60.7% since 1990-91: '94-'95: 3,456 Source: Head Start

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