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Supporters to Take Vigilant Stance on Abortion Rights

A stereotype that grates on me is the conviction by some that anybody who opposes abortion is a right-wing nut or anti-feminist. I don’t buy it.

On the other hand, it distresses me to hear abortion opponents demean the character of those who are abortion rights advocates.

I find much to admire about many people in both camps. I also find it admirable--and a bit noble--when people take to the streets with candles to declare their souls for a cause.

Today is the 25th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions legal. Supporters from a variety of groups will gather at 7 tonight just south of the circle in downtown Orange for a candlelight commemorative vigil. The annual vigil is special this year, many agree, because of the 25th anniversary--but also because conservative challengers to abortion rights are gaining strength in legislatures across the country.

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I asked Darcelle Foster of the North Orange County chapter of the National Organization for Women, the primary sponsor, whether such vigils are effective.

“The people who drive by and see us will become more aware of the issue,” she said. “Also, when the politicians hear about us, they might think, ‘Maybe the people in my district are not so conservative after all.’ ”

Several hundred are expected to participate, including grandparents with their grandchildren, mothers and daughters. Foster’s own family of four will be there. There have been a few protesters in past years, but not enough to bother things.

Kimberly Salter of the South Orange County NOW chapter is bringing a carload of friends. It’s not only a good cause, she said, but it’s good for the individual.

“I get two things out of it,” she said. “A sense of pride at what women have accomplished and also a reminder that we have a long way to go.”

Speakers for the event will include Costa Mesa Councilwoman Libby Cowan, retired minister Buckner Coe and physician Martin Roitman.

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Peter’s Friend: Delores Bowles of Newport Beach, who died in October at the age of 83, fell in love with Beatrix Potter stories while growing up on the Missouri plains. Later, when she taught first grade at Newport Elementary School in Newport Beach, she found Potter’s characters, such as Peter Rabbit and Mrs. Tittlemouse, a great way to get children interested in reading.

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After she retired in 1980, Bowles became an avid collector of artifacts depicting Beatrix Potter’s many characters. She wound up lecturing across the country on Potter’s work. She became known in Orange County for turning her Newport Beach cottage into a virtual shrine to Potter.

Bowles’ many friends want to do something special to commemorate her life. Delta Kappa Gamma, the honorary education society she belonged to, will hold a “ceremony of remembrance” for her Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The location is quite appropriate--the auditorium of Newport Elementary School, at 14th Street and Balboa Boulevard, the school where she taught for nearly 30 years.

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She Rules the Market: Imagine the chill of finding out that the person you’ve been working next to at a crisis hotline is a serial killer. But then, if you also just happen to be a writer, what a terrific scoop of a story you’ve got.

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That’s what happened to Ann Rule, who worked at a crisis hotline in Seattle with the notorious Ted Bundy. She wrote about it in her first best-selling book, “Stranger Beside Me.” Rule has since gone on to dominate the true-crime market with one blockbuster bestseller after another.

My wife and I have completely different reading interests, but our common bond is Ann Rule. We can hardly wait for her to write the next one.

Rule will be here Saturday, signing copies of her latest true-crime drama, “Bitter Harvest,” at the Book Carnival on Tustin Avenue in Orange, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Rule is no stranger to Orange County. Seven years ago she covered the David Brown trial in Santa Ana--he was convicted of murder after persuading his daughter to kill her stepmother. It produced another bestseller, “If You Really Loved Me.”

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Getting Involved: We’re usually better off if we mind our own business. One exception is when we can help out the police.

Last month, Paul Harper of Placentia happened to be browsing in a pawnshop in Fullerton when he saw some handsome Ping five-iron golf clubs. They appeared to match those he heard had been stolen at the Imperial Golf Course in Brea. Harper called the head pro at Imperial, who called the police.

Sure enough, the clubs, worth $125 each, were the stolen ones. The police were able to recover 19 of the 30 missing clubs. By a stroke of good fortune, the person who sold them to the pawnshop had left his name and driver’s license number, and was promptly arrested.

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There was nothing in it for Harper, of course--or so he thought. This week Harper was honored at Mimi’s Cafe in Yorba Linda with the restaurant chain’s “All-American Hero” award. Dinner for two and a nice plaque were awarded him.

But the biggest honor for Harper may be that he was nominated by Sgt. Tom Flenniken of the Brea Police Department. Said Flenniken: “While this may not have been a dramatic, life-saving situation, he did make a conscious decision to get involved and do the right thing. Not enough people make the effort these days.”

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Wrap-Up: You don’t have to be a member of one of the organizing groups to join the Roe vs. Wade vigil. Participants are meeting at the Antique Plaza parking lot at Almond Avenue and Glassell Street at 6:30 p.m. Speeches will take place there before the march to the circle.

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Jerry Hicks’ column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Readers may reach Hicks by calling The Times Orange County Edition at (714) 966-7823, by fax at (714) 966-7711 or by e-mail at jerry.hicks@latimes.com.


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