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APRIL JLC 2000 NOTEBOOK APRIL 2000 EDITED BY MARTIN HOLLADAY & JON VARA Homeowners in southern California are wrestling with an unusual wood-destroying fungus called meruliporia incrassata. Under the right conditions, the fungus (which is generally referred to simply as poria) can spread throughout a wood-framed structure in a matter of months, causing serious damage before the inhabitants realize there's a problem. Even if poria is discovered early, it's often mistaken for ordinary brown or white rot, and inadequately treated. "My insurance company said I just had water damage," says Joanna Poppink, a Los Angeles psychotherapist. "I put in gutters, resloped the front lawn, and replaced some studs and drywall. I thought it was fixed until