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MOVABLE JUSTICE: With an overflow in the...

MOVABLE JUSTICE: With an overflow in the Ventura County Hall of Justice, two full-time judges have taken up quarters in the little-used East County Courthouse in Simi Valley (B1). But the court will be limited in the criminal cases that can be heard. . . . “You can see on a busy day how much room is needed,” Judge Ken Riley says. “Feeding the prisoners would be a real problem. The sheriff would need to take them to McDonald’s or something.”

DRUG OF CHOICE: Heavy use of amphetamines has soared in the state, with hospitalizations up 300% in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties (A1). . . . Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Husband says speed is particularly worrisome because “there tends to be a lot of violence associated with the drug.” . . . Much of the meth used in the county is made in rural Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, Husband says.

CHRISTMAS BONUS: The holidays just got easier for Susan and John Diedrich of Ventura, who’ll have an extra $10,000 to throw around. . . . They got the windfall after Susan received a key in a promotional mailing and it opened the “treasure chest” at the Camarillo Factory Stores. John said they’ll enjoy the chance to go wild. “If someone was to give us $10,000 in cash, we would probably put it in the bank and pay bills with it. This way, we have to be frivolous.” . . . But part of the money will be spent on gift certificates for the 25 employees of the Diedrichs’ auto-parts stores.

OOPS: Microsoft czar Bill Gates was full of praise for the computer program at Oxnard’s Blackstock Junior High, but Blackstock students, online to hear him, got sports instead (B1). . . . Despite the cyberspace snafu, educators say Blackstock’s methods work. “I walk into some schools and you see state-of-the-art computers and very sophisticated linkages,” says Madeline Kunin, deputy U. S. secretary of education, “and you go into other schools where computers are locked in a room and rarely used, or half of them are broken.”

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