Walker leads Fontana boys

first_imgWalker was 11-for-20 from the field, 7-of-18 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-6 from the line. He took eight rebounds and had four assists, a steal and a blocked shot. A.J. Moore scored 13 points for Fontana. Donte Godlock added 11. Troy Beverly was Los Altos’ No. 2 scorer with eight points. Griffin scored on three consecutive possessions to get Los Altos a tie at 48 with 2:24 left in the third quarter, but Walker scored on a short jumper, fed Godlock for a layup, and Moore made a steal and took it in for a layup to give the Steelers a six-point lead. Los Altos never got within five after that. FONTANA – Sophomore guard Demetrius Walker rained in 34 points, 21 from 3-point range, overcoming 25 points around the basket by senior forward A.J. Griffin as Fontana High School fended off Los Altos 68-62 in a CIF-Southern Section Division II-AA boys basketball wild-card game Wednesday. Fontana, 16-12 and the No. 4 team out of the Citrus Belt League, advances to a Friday road game with ninth-seeded Torrance (21-6), champion of the Freeway League. Los Altos, an at-large team out of the Miramonte League, finishes 13-14. Walker, the highly touted underclassman declared “the next LeBron James” by Sports Illustrated while in eighth grade, apparently was an unknown entity to the Conquerors, who failed to contest most of Walker’s early shots. He scored 18 points as Fontana took a 29-22 lead. “Demetrius has really worked on his shooting,” Fontana coach Ryan Smith said. “He may not have made five threes all last season.” center_img 160Want 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

Saving his best for last

first_imgWEST COVINA – Good things are worth waiting for. With a 9-0 decision in the finals of the CIF-Southern Section Coastal Division wrestling championship, South Hills High School senior wrestler Jonathan Aguirre won his first title at 145 pounds last Saturday. South Hills coach Robb Froh said Aguirre’s latest success isn’t the least bit surprising to him. “Jonathan has always had the talent,” Froh said, “he’s just gotten a lot of bad draws. Even then, he took good wrestlers to the limit. He has become very focused lately and it couldn’t happen to a more fun-loving kid who tries to bring everyone together.” Aguirre is very popular among his teammates and is credited with bringing the best out of even the most talented wrestler on the team. Thomas Williams is ranked No. 1 in the state at 112 pounds and is 42-1, but feels Aguirre has had the biggest positive influence on the team’s chemistry. “Jon is the main reason we’re close as a unit,” Williams said. “He’s a great motivator and he has become a much more balanced wrestler of late.” The only thing Aguirre may treasure more than his recent title are the relationships he’s formed along the way. Aguirre is extremely close with just about everyone he’s come in contact with. “I think of him like he’s my son,” South Hills assistant coach Chris Taylor said. “Jonathan has been in the shadow in his family and has decided to break out of it.” Aguirre says he can’t emphasize enough the value of his father James’ support. “My dad is in the stands at every match and is proud of me whether I win or lose,” Aguirre said. “It wouldn’t be the same without him there and I can see how happy he is when I wrestle.” Aguirre and his brother, Randy, are close as well and he says he takes his grades a lot more seriously because his older brother has helped Jonathan learn from his past mistakes. “I didn’t take school as seriously as I do now (in college) and Jon’s realized how important grades are,” Randy said. Aguirre boasts a 3.5 grade-point average and would like a career as a firefighter when his wrestling days are over. His cousin, Eddie, played a large role in his maturity on the mat, but the wrestler that has made the biggest difference in his rise to the top is 140-pounder Sal Castillo. “Sal came from Oklahoma and we came in as freshmen together. He probably didn’t realize it, but he was kicking my butt every day that we wrestled until our junior year,” Aguirre said. “He’s made me so much better.” Perhaps Aguirre’s improvement on the mat and focus of late has played a large role in his recent success, but he credits his family, coaches and teammates for the acclaim he now enjoys. With a CIF ring now on its way, Aguirre is focused on the last two weeks of his prep wrestling career. His impact on the South Hills program will last long after his departure. “He’s the most likable kid I’ve ever coached and he just brings the best out of everyone,” Taylor said. “I am not prepared to say good-bye to him.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Aguirre comes from a wrestling family. His cousins, Eddie, 24, and Brian, 23, and his brother, Randy, 21, all wrestled for South Hills. Jonathan became the first of the four to win a CIF crown. Randy wrestles at San Francisco State and said Saturday he was sweating all day until he got the text message he was waiting for. “When I saw that he had won, I got the biggest smile on my face and it made the rest of my day so much better,” Randy said. Aguirre’s season record of 36-10 isn’t an accurate indication of his talent. The Huskies had what many feel is a murderer’s row schedule and the South Hills captain is peaking at just the right time. “I was hoping to wrestle this well all year, but I am glad I am doing it now,” Aguirre said. “I am really focused and am working really hard to get better each day.” center_img Aguirre, 17, is saving his best for last and his family, friends, teammates and coaches couldn’t be happier for someone they call a “great kid.” Aguirre will ride the hot hand he’s been dealt when the Masters Meet begins today in Rialto. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state meet in Bakersfield. last_img read more

LBSU roundup: 49ers drop match to No. 18 Fresno State

first_imgEmmanuelle Tabatruong earned a 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 win over Danon Beatty at the No. 5 spot. At No. 6 singles, senior Rachael Porsz won 6-3, 7-5 over Jacqueline Haskett. At No. 1 singles, The Bulldogs’ Melanie Gloria, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation, won 7-5, 6-1 over Hannah Grady. Water PoloLBSU’s women’s water polo team split the final day of the UC Irvine Invitational, defeating Michigan 10-6, before dropping its third one-goal loss of the season, 11-10 to Santa Clara in double overtime. By losing three of four, LBSU (4-5) finished in 14th place. In the night cap, LBSU overcame a two-goal fourth quarter deficit to tie it at 8 with 4:23 left in regulation on one of three goals by Christina Wensman. The 49ers tied it again on the final of three goals by Cecilia Canetti with 1:16 left. The 49ers took a lead in the first overtime following the second of two scores from Megan Winchell, who finished with six goals on the day. But Santa Clara answered with two goals in the second overtime to win 11-10. In the opener, Kim Hayes allowed just three goals over the first three periods as the 49ers cruised to a 10-6 win over Michigan. Hayes became just the second LBSU player to record 15 saves, setting a career-high and falling two short of Bri Hawkins’ record, as Winchell tallied a career-best four goals. The No. 26 Long Beach State women’s tennis team concluded a tough weekend in Las Vegas, dropping its third consecutive match to a nationally ranked team, falling to No. 18 Fresno State 5-2 on Sunday afternoon. In doubles, Fresno State (5-2) won all three matches to pick up the point. The 49ers (5-4) won at No. 5 and No. 6 singles. center_img Men’s volleyballUC San Diego defeated No. 13 LBSU 3-2 late Saturday night in a Mountain Sports Federation Match to snap the 49ers’ 10-match win streak against the Tritons. Host UCSD won 25-30, 30-23, 20-30, 30-27, 15-9. Paul Lotman and Norm Hutton led the 49ers (6-8, 3-7) with 16 kills apiece, while Teddy Liles had 12 kills hitting for a .526 hitting percentage. Jason Spangler led the Tritons (5-10, 2-8) with 26 kills and a .391 hitting percentage. 160Want 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

Sports calendar

first_imgJC WOMEN’S TENNISEl Camino at LBCC, 2 p.m. Mt. Sac at Cerritos , 2 p.m. JC BASEBALLL.A. Harbor at LBCC, 2 p.m. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Artest suspected of domestic violence

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest was arrested Monday after a woman called 911 from his home saying she had been assaulted. Placer County sheriff’s deputies responded about 9:30 a.m. to Artest’s five-acre estate in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis, where they found a woman who had suffered injuries, officials said. She declined medical attention. Team spokesman Troy Hanson told The Associated Press Artest had not been suspended and still was being paid. Artest, who joined the Kings from the Indiana Pacers in January 2006, has had previous run-ins with police. He was at the center of the Nov. 19, 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Pistons fans at The Palace in Detroit. Just when a confrontation between players appeared over, Artest, lying on the scorer’s table, was hit with a cup filled with an icy beverage. He bolted into the stands in a rage, followed by teammate Stephen Jackson. Artest and teammate Jermaine O’Neal later slugged fans on the court. Two days later, Artest was suspended for the rest of the season – 73 games, plus the playoffs – in a move that cost him almost $5 million. Artest and Jackson were sentenced to one year of probation and 60 hours of community service after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault charges. In January, Artest was released from that probation. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Artest, the central figure of the infamous 2004 brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans, was booked into the Placer County Jail and later released on $50,000 bail. Erwin said she could not disclose the woman’s injuries or characterize her relationship with the player. She said Artest was cooperative when deputies arrived at his home. Sheriff’s officials obtained an emergency protective order that prevents Artest from returning to the house or contacting the woman until she can obtain a restraining order, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Scott said during an afternoon news conference. He said such action was normal procedure in domestic violence cases. Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, said the team was removing Artest from the team, pending a full investigation. “The Kings have excused Ron Artest indefinitely from any further participation with the team due to his arrest today for domestic violence,” Petrie said in a statement. center_img Deputies arrested Artest on suspicion of domestic violence and using force or violence to prevent the woman from reporting a crime, sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin said. “He and the female were in the house and separated,” Erwin said. “The deputies interviewed them and took Mr. Artest into custody.” last_img read more

No. 1 seed Mt. SAC gets by Foothill

first_imgSeeded No. 1 in the South, Mt. SAC used an 18-10 run at the beginning of the second half to turn a close game into a 71-61 win over the North No. 4-seeded Owls at Fresno’s Selland Arena on Friday. “We definitely didn’t play one of our best games,” said Mt. SAC coach Laura Beeman, who had guided the Mounties to an average winning margin of 43 points per game since their only loss of the season on Jan. 12, but only won by 10 against a team they beat 63-46 earlier in the year. For the entire first half of its State Championship quarterfinal game against Foothill College, the Mt. San Antonio College women’s basketball team struggled. The second was another story – well, kind of. “We were just anxious. It definitely wasn’t one of our better games.” After leading just 33-28 coming out of halftime, Mt. SAC (35-1) began to distance itself in the second half. Freshman guard Jazlyn Davis had a game-high 23 points – 12 of which came in the first half – three rebounds and four steals for the Mounties. “We just wanted to come out and execute and play hard,” Davis said. “We came out a little flat today. But we picked up our defensive intensity. We didn’t want to go home today.” Sophomore guard Tonicia Tademy added 10 points and five steals for the Mounties, who had 11 steals and forced Foothill (27-9) into 28 turnovers. center_img Mt. SAC pulled down an astounding 25 offensive rebounds on its way to 45 total rebounds for the game. “We always crash the boards hard,” Beeman said. “It’s what’s kept us in the big games. “We led them in every statistical category but shooting percentage. We took 24 (72-48) more shots than they did, it gave us our advantage.” Sophomore guard Tay Hester was 10 of 12 from the free-throw line as she scored 18 points and had six rebounds. The win sets up a semifinals matchup today at 5 p.m. against College of the Canyons (30-5), which beat North No. 2 San Joaquin Delta earlier in the day. The Mounties beat the Cougars 71-57 in the championship game of their season-opening Mt. SAC tournament. “They have an All-State point guard who is tremendous,” Beeman said. “They transition very well. We need to make them slow it down and run their half-court sets.” 160Want 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

Vilma Ebsen, dancer and instructor, 96

first_imgTHOUSAND OAKS – Vilma Ebsen, who danced in the film “Broadway Melody of 1936” with her brother Buddy long before he became famous on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” has died. She was 96. Vilma Ebsen, a dance instructor and co-owner of the old Ebsen School of Dancing in Pacific Palisades, died March 12 at the Thousand Oaks Health Care Center, her son Robert Dolan said Tuesday. As she grew up, she taught at her father’s Orlando, Fla., dance school, then joined her brother in New York for the Broadway run of the musical “Whoopee.” They teamed up and Vilma and Buddy Ebsen were featured in the vaudeville revue “Broadway Stars of the Future.” The song and dance team also appeared in the Broadway musical revue “Flying Colors,” in which they introduced “A Shine on Your Shoes.” They were featured in the 1934 edition of “Ziegfeld Follies,” in which they sang “I Like the Likes of You.” Vilma Ebsen and sister Helga started the Ebsen School of Dancing in 1943, focusing on ballet and tap dancing for children. It operated until the mid-1990s. “It really became her life,” son Robert Dolan said. “She’s got adoring students that go back for decades.” Vilma’s brother Buddy died in 2003. “She absolutely adored Buddy,” her son said. Dolan said his mother had a fabulous sense of humor and “was telling jokes the week before she died. Could she tell stories. They got better over the years and the last 10 years were the best.” One of Dolan’s favorite jokes was one his mom made up and sold to a comic for $50, he said. “My mom said, `If I ever have an out-of-body experience, I’m not going back. I’m going into Shirley MacLaine’s because she’s never there.” Besides her two sons, Ebsen is survived by two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. Her sons said a memorial celebration for family and friends will be held later. Instead of flowers, the family asked that donations in Ebsen’s name be made to the Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, where money will go to fund children’s dance education.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! They came to Hollywood the following year to appear in the 1935 MGM movie musical “Broadway Melody of 1936,” in which the Ebsens introduced “Sing Before Breakfast” on a brownstone rooftop with Eleanor Powell. They also performed “On a Sunday Afternoon” and danced in the big “Broadway Rhythm” finale. It was her only movie appearance. Buddy Ebsen went on to appear in other movies and Vilma returned to New York where husband Robert Emmett Dolan was a Broadway conductor. She appeared in the musical comedy “Between the Devil,” which ran on Broadway from 1937 to 1938. Vilma and her husband moved to Pacific Palisades in 1941 with their toddler son Robert. Dolan, who became a seven-time Academy Award-nominated film composer, and Ebsen later divorced. In 1948, she married tennis player Stanley Briggs and the couple had a a son, Michael. last_img

Field lab finally on EPA radar

first_img“We definitely want it to be a Superfund site, because it is,” said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles. “I’m very happy that the EPA is going to assess the site again, with an eye toward whether it can be declared a Superfund site.” Kuehl has pushed for the highest cleanup standards at the lab. She has legislation pending that would add the lab to the state’s Superfund list and prohibit Boeing from selling the property until the state director of Toxic Substances Control certifies that contamination has been completely remedied. Boeing spokeswoman Blythe Jameson said the company is working closely with all the regulatory agencies on site decontamination. “All the radiological and chemical cleanups that the company has undertaken throughout the site continue to follow standards that have been carefully set by scientists and engineers and are fully protective of public health and safety,” Jameson said. One of the big controversies surrounding the lab is decontamination of the former Energy Technology and Engineering Center, where the federal government developed nuclear reactors – and where one had a partial meltdown in 1959. Critics of the DOE said the agency’s proposed cleanup would leave 99 percent of the tainted soil on site, and Boeing could eventually sell the property for residential use. In 2003, the EPA said there hadn’t been enough analysis of the site and the cleanup would leave the site unsafe for anything but limited picnicking and camping. At the same time, however, EPA officials said the former nuclear-research portion of the lab did not qualify for Superfund status because nobody lived on site and few people were in immediate risk from the contamination. Similarly, in 1987, the EPA said the field lab didn’t score high enough on its hazard-ranking system to qualify for the National Priorities List. At that time, however, the EPA did not consider radiological contamination on site, only the toxic chemical pollution. This time, the EPA’s Curnow said, the agency will consider the entire lab and all chemical and radiological contamination. EPA officials will score the site based on contamination and how many people might have been exposed if pollutants moved off site. If the site scores high enough, it will be considered for inclusion on the National Priorities List. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks, has long sought EPA involvement in the site cleanup and praised the EPA for its decision Thursday. “My goal has always been to have the site cleaned to the highest standard possible in a timely and complete manner,” Gallegly said in a written statement. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the agency’s decision to reconsider the lab is long overdue. “Now the EPA should as quickly as possible ensure that public health is protected by using the best information to make its decisions, not old or inadequate data that could mask the dangers posed by radiation and chemicals at the site,” she said. Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to this report. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Given all the community concerns about this site and the fact that it’s not being studied and cleaned up under Superfund, this would be appropriate to go back and look at the whole site.” Longtime field lab watchdogs hailed the EPA’s decision but remained wary Thursday, noting that the agency has twice previously rejected the lab site for Superfund status. “I’m hopeful and cautious at the same time,” said Dan Hirsch of the Committee to Bridge the Gap. “On the face of it, it’s positive. EPA has recognized, belatedly, that the site should be looked at as a whole. But twice before they’ve declined to list it, so there has to be some skepticism about why they’re doing it now.” Activists have pushed for EPA Superfund status so one agency would supervise and coordinate cleanup of the 290-acre lab, owned by Boeing Co. Currently, regulation of the field lab cleanup is divided among several agencies. The Department of Energy oversees its own cleanup of the former nuclear research section of the lab. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is responsible for monitoring chemical cleanup on the site, and the state’s Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board monitors surface water flowing off the lab. Twenty years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first refused to designate the Santa Susana Field Lab as a high-priority cleanup site, the federal agency said Thursday that it is now reconsidering its decision. In a move long sought by community activists, the EPA said it will reassess testing data from recent years and, if necessary, conduct further analysis to determine whether the lab qualifies for the National Priorities List, also called the Superfund program. Reserved for the worst-contaminated sites, Superfund status would give the EPA authority to conduct a new investigation and oversee cleanup at the hilltop lab. “What we’ve heard from the community for many years is that they’re concerned that the site isn’t being addressed as a whole under Superfund,” said Betsy Curnow, chief of the EPA’s regional site assessment section. last_img read more

Panelist choice raises concern

first_img“If I were Mitchell, I would say, `Thank you Stephen for moving back to Monterey Park. I know San Marino is a lot prettier than Monterey Park, and you’ve agreed to come back and serve us,”‘ Lam said. Deputy City Attorney Adrian Guerra said city code requires a planning commissioner to reside in the city but does not list a minimum length of time for residency or require that a person must be a homeowner. Ing said that while Lam’s move is legal, it “raises eyebrows.” “How can someone who just moved in the city be on one of the most influential commissions?” Ing asked. Lam, however, said Ing is ignoring his ties to the city. A San Marino resident up until recently, Lam has owned the clothing store Koco Collection on Garfield Avenue in Monterey Park for 17 years. Lam has also been a member of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club, and previously lived in the city for seven years. MONTEREY PARK – Two councilmen have asked why a man who had lived in the city only eight days was handed a plum commission assignment. Last week, Stephen Lam became the fifth member of the city’s Planning Commission, after being nominated by Councilman Anthony Wong. Lam moved here from San Marino just eight days prior. Councilmen Mitchell Ing and Benjamin “Frank” Venti, both of whom abstained from the vote, said there are unanswered questions about Lam’s recent move to the city. Lam is renting a condominium in Monterey Park. His family continues to reside in San Marino. Lam will also retain his position as chairman of the Business Improvement District Advisory Committee, which he was appointed to by Assemblyman Mike Eng when Eng served on the council. jennifer.mclain@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Republican debate: No clear winner

first_imgSIMI VALLEY – While every candidate at the first Republican presidential debate Thursday night jockeyed to become the political heir to President Reagan’s legacy, John McCain showed why he may be the spiritual heir in Nancy Reagan’s heart. Moments after the debate, as he removed his wireless microphone from inside his suit jacket behind the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Arizona senator noticed a shiny dime on the floor. He bent down for a closer look, then kept walking past the coin. The dime was lying heads down, and picking up coins that are tails up is a no-no for McCain. “Am I superstitious? I’m that,” McCain said, walking with his wife, Cindy, and entourage to the candidates’ reception. “But I don’t think I’m alone there.” At the Reagan Library, McCain, who says he has been superstitious since he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had come to the right place. In his 1965 autobiography, Reagan admitted he was superstitious and read syndicated horoscopes, and Nancy said she did, too. The former president observed such superstitions as always putting a lucky coin and gold charm in his pocket each morning, knocking on wood, never walking under ladders and tossing salt over his left shoulder when he spilled some. Not surprisingly, Reagan cast a long shadow in the debate where his name and character were mentioned often by each candidate – and the shadow loomed just as big afterward in the “Spin Room” where high-profile supporters of each candidate sought to “spin” the debate in their favor. Bill Simon, the one-time California gubernatorial candidate, stumped for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and how he typified the traits of Reagan. “Mayor Giuliani demonstrated that he has the strength to lead the country in the best tradition of Ronald Reagan,” said Simon, speaking to reporters in a noisy large room packed with spin-meisters of each candidate surrounded by microphones, recorders and cameras. Selling candidates In almost every instance, it was not just one spin-meister for a candidate but several of them. Some, such as Simon, were politicians. But others were political consultants and advisers working for those candidates. Each of the spinners was shadowed by an anonymous staffer holding up high a printed poster identifying the spinner and his affiliation. In some instances, you had the candidates themselves selling how well they had done, as in the case of Texas congressman Ron Paul doing every local television interview he could to heighten his name recognition, which undoubtedly took a big jump with the debate. For his part, Giuliani looked like a prizefighter proclaiming victory immediately after a bout. In the men’s room behind the stage, Giuliani smiled as he received pats on the back and words of congratulations. “I did well, if I say so myself,” he said. Giuliani and the other candidates were all headed after the debate to a celebratory dinner hosted by Nancy Reagan, who was escorted there – as she was into the debate hall – by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Several invited guests said that while they had been pleased with the debate, the show-stopper may have been the Reagan Library itself. With its presidential history and its hilltop views of the Ventura County mountainsides, it symbolized Ronald Reagan Country and the hold it has on the locals. Steve Grindley, 31, of Simi Valley has been an executive chef with the food company that caters all events at the library, and he has been a regular at these functions since its opening. “They’ve all been great, but the best event, without a doubt, was President Reagan’s funeral,” Grindley said. “There were senators and heads of other countries, and you were seeing an American president laid to rest. “It was part of history.” No true winner Back in the Spin Room, the selling of the candidates went on. Most spin-meisters acknowledged that in a debate with so many candidates, declaring a true winner was impossible. No candidate had made a monumental goof, and they all defended the hard-line positions the candidates took on such issues as Roe v. Wade and immigration. Spin-meisters for the top-tier candidates – Giuliani, McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – said their respective men had handled themselves well. “The governor showed himself to be not only knowledgeable but specific on the issues, especially on foreign affairs,” Missouri Sen. Jim Talent said. McCain’s handlers were even more enthusiastic in talking about the former POW and his own passionate vow to chase after Osama bin Laden. “John McCain has committed to leaving no stone unturned in fighting terrorism,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the country’s first Homeland Security secretary. “As he said in the debate, he will follow bin Laden to the gates of hell.” The only awkward moment in the Spin Room came when the sensitive issue close to Nancy Reagan’s heart – support of embryonic stem cell research – came up. Moderator Chris Mathews had raised the subject with each candidate during the debate. Only McCain pledged his unqualified support. “Will that come back to haunt the other candidates?” spin-meister Simon said rhetorically to the question in the Spin Room. “I wouldn’t think so.” Meanwhile, away in the dining area, guess who Nancy Reagan saved the biggest hug for. tony.castro@dailynews.com (818) 713-3761160Want 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