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Animals the draw for kids at Valley fair

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Contrary to the old joke, a 500-pound tiger doesn’t eat “anything it wants” for breakfast, Spolyar said, but consumes 15 to 20 pounds of raw meat every day. That much protein takes a long time to digest, which is why the big cats also sleep up to 20 hours a day. At 1 p.m. Saturday, it was nap time for tigers, but that didn’t stop a quartet of small children from letting out a breathless “Oooooooooh!” when one of the felines rolled over and stretched in its sleep. And while a full-grown tiger can jump 10 feet in the air or 30 feet along the ground, all that power is only good for short distances, which means tigers have to sneak up on their prey. “They can run at speeds up to 40 mph, but in short bursts,” Spolyar explained. “They’d go 100 feet and then lie down and take a nap.” The fair, which continues today, also features carnival rides and games, live music, as well as horticulture, livestock and arts and crafts displays. Silvia Bishop, host of the home arts tent, said busloads of visiting schoolchildren have been fascinated by the paintings, drawings, photographs, crocheted afghans, ceramic dragons, tooled leather items and even a set of crocheted Looney Tunes stuffed toys. “Where do you show off that afghan your family thinks is wonderful or your preserved goods?” Bishop said. “You can’t take it to the mall. That’s what the fair is good for: representing its community.” Hungry fair-goers also can munch on tamales, hot dogs, Thai food, roasted corn, cajun sausage, pastrami sandwiches, ice cream and Hawaiian ice. But for animal-lovers, the fair was a zoological delight. In the livestock tent, a small herd of rabbits managed to sleep despite the constant crowing of several roosters. Two-year-old Camilla Nguyen of Chatsworth delighted in greeting the animals in the petting zoo with an enthusiastic “Hi!” safe in the arms of her father, Nam Nguyen, 33. But while the sheep and the zebra were content to let Nam Nguyen feed them tidbits, the camel was not. As an astonished Camilla watched, the camel stretched his long neck out and snatched the entire food cup out of Nam Nguyen’s hand, dumped the remains down its throat and tossed the empty container into a pen. Meanwhile, Deb Baumann, managing director of the Vaquero Heritage Foundation, was demonstrating “La Garrocha,” or the long wooden pole used to herd cattle in the Old World before roping was invented. Part of the routine is supposed to be done hands-free. Her 17-year-old chestnut Arabian, Sammy, however, had other ideas. Belying his age, the frisky horse became all ham, putting extra bounce in his trot as he turned in tight circles around the long pole. “You give him an audience, and his brain leaves his body,” Baumann sighed afterward. lisa.sodders@dailynews.com (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HANSEN DAM – Tiger trainer Andy Spolyar swims and wrestles with tigers, and he has occasional scratches and bruises to prove it. But the 39-year-old Spolyar, who has worked as a trainer for about eight years with the Tigers of India Spectacular Show, said he’s never been seriously injured, even though his charges have been known to “mouth” on his arms in play. “If one of them tackles me and I’m not expecting it, it’s 500 to 600 pounds hitting you – it feels like a couple of linebackers hitting you,” Spolyar said. “They’re wild animals, and we treat them with respect.” Spolyar and nine Bengal tigers from the Marcan Tiger Preserve in Florida were just one of the attractions Saturday at the 60th annual San Fernando Valley Fair. last_img read more

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Water-saving dams close to completion

first_imgCERRITOS – Two inflatable rubber dams that should save $1 million worth of water from heading to the ocean should be operational in about a month.But the operational date comes more than a year after they were supposed to be complete and the cost has grown by about $5.2 million to $6.4million.The Water Replenishment District of Southern California, which purchases water to recharge the underground aquifers in southern Los Angeles County, is bearing most of the additional cost.The district’s board last week appropriated $2.1 million, twice the amount it had planned to spend in 2003 for the project.But even at twice the cost, the dams, which are being constructed in the San Gabriel River, are a good investment, said Robb Whitaker, the district’s general manager.“It will allow us to capture more storm water and get that water into the ground creating basically a new water supply,” Whitaker said.The two proposed dams are located on the San Gabriel River between Valley Boulevard and San Jose Creek, said Ken Pelman, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Public Works Department, which is constructing them.Each dam is 442 feet long and when fully inflated will be 8 feet high.They were supposed to be constructed during summer 2004, but there were delays. By the time work was supposed to be started, the rainy season had hit, Pelman said.The cost ended up higher than expected too, he said. state bond money and funds from the county are paying the rest of the cost.The dams give the county flexibility, Pelman said. They can be inflated to keep the water from flowing down to the ocean or deflated if there’s too much water flowing.“We can deflate them or inflate them depending on what we need,” Pelman said.The dams are expected to save about 3,600 acre-feet. An acre-foot, 326,000 gallons, can be visualized as a football field one-foot deep in water. It also is the amount of water used in a year by an average family of five.At a cost of $300 per acre-foot, that means a savings of about $1 million in one year alone, Whitaker said.“Our investment can be paid off in two average rainfall years,” he said.With these two new dams, the county will have a total of 13. Three of those are used to divert water into the nearby spreading grounds to recharge the under ground supply. mike.sprague@sgvn.com(562)698-0955, Ext. 3022 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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