Rita Bennett understands that teaching math to her second graders these days adds up to a whole lot more than 2 + 2 = 4. On one recent morning she presented the following problem to her Simi Valley, Calif., students: a mother with kids aged 11, 6 a nd 3 wants to know whether a box of 24 candles will be enough to light all three birthday cakes next year.
THEY STARTED JUST after daybreak last week, the demolition crew wielding jackhammers and maneuvering backhoes. Breaking up the wooden boards, ripping out the pylons, they brought down one of the more modest alterations of the West's natural plumbing: the Western Canal Dam on Butte Creek, a tributary of Cali- fornia's Sacramento River.
MARC TIZER, KNOWN NOW AS Yo, trains many of his disciples to run ""ultramarathons,'' grueling races of up to 100 miles. As both coach and guru, Tizer holds a dominion over his students that would be the envy of a medieval lord: he dictates when and how much to sleep and eat, where to travel, whom to have sex with, even whether to have children.
IT WAS A PLAN SO FAR AHEAD OF ITS time that it took a 100-year flood to make it happen. The 1980 management plan for Yosemite National Park, designed to "return the Valley to as near its natural condition as possible," called for removing more than 1,200 parking spaces, hundreds of campsites and motel rooms and lodging for 1,000 employees.
MIKHAIL MARKHASEV arrived in the United States from Ukraine about eight years ago. He was then 9 or 10. With his mother, Victoria Markhaseva--or, sometimes, Victoria Gorenshtein--he moved to Los Angeles, and then around the area at least four or five times in the past few years.
WE AMERICANS are an introspective lot, arguably more given than most other nationalities to seeing warts on the body politic as nothing less than cancer. So it is probably inevitable that the national mood as the millennium approaches is a bituneasy-- as if, with the flip of a calendar page, we begin some long decline in all the blessings that make America exceptional and the future worth living for.
NO ONE EXPECTED BOB DORNAN TO take the news gracefully. Two years ago Dornan mused that ""every lesbian spear-chucker in the country is hoping I get defeated.'' On election night this year, as he watched the returns in his room at the Westin Hotel in Costa Mesa, Calif., Dornan couldn't believe what the anchors were telling him.
SEAN SHAYAN IS NOT given to understatement. The 20-year-old CEO's company, Global World Media Corp., has a name only Rupert Murdoch could love. His headquarters, a cramped warren of offices a few blocks off the beach in Los Angeles, are New Age baroque: purple and green walls, low-slung crescent-shaped desks and a black triangular conference table.
Until last week, Chul Yoonthought he knew all the threats nature posed to life in suburban California: fire and flood, earthquake and mudslide. Then, late one night at Yoon's La Crescenta home northeast of Los Angeles, a mountain lion materialized beside his swimming pool and mauled Yoon's 80-pound Akita.
James Chambers could barely muster a 2.0 grade-point average as a ninth grader last year in the High Point, N.C., public schools. More and more of his friends were smoking pot. "I didn't want to be like that," says Chambers, a 16year-old African-American with a pierced ear and an open grin.
SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF LOS ANGELES BY mountains, the San Fernando Valley defined itseft for decades as a place apart. With jobs in acrespace and manufacturing, comfortable homes and swimming pools, it was the archetypal suburb for southern California: homogeneous, prosperous and chiefly white.
Getting tough on illegal immigrants is smart politics in California this year -- and Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, now running for a second term, has united his party and intimidated Democrats by leading the campaign for Proposition 187, also known as the Save Our State (or ""S.O.S.'') initiative.