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Probe: January 10, 2001

January 10, 2001

QUESTION: What are those tall metal poles with blue tarps that look like flags on top? Under the flag are plastic gallon jugs that look like they have water inside.

I saw three poles on El Centro's east side, one on Dogwood, one about a block away from there and one on Fourth Street. Is this the underground railroad for immigrants? — Curious, El Centro

That's close. The poles were put up to signify support for the Desert Water Project, an effort to save lives of undocumented immigrants crossing the desert.

The group stashes water in the desert and sets up a 30-foot pole with a blue flag so crossers can find the water.

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"We think we've saved some lives," said John Hunter, brother of Rep. Duncan Hunter. "We know the immigrants are taking a lot of water."

"Last summer we replaced 1,000 gallons of water," he said.

QUESTION: Almost every morning City Councilman Henry Halcon is at Westmorland City Hall. Halcon, an Imperial Irrigation District employee, parks his IID pickup in back.

I want to know why he's doing city business on IID's time, and why he's driving an IID vehicle to get there. — IID Customer, Westmorland

IID spokesman Ron Hull said IID management will discuss this with Halcon. There's no IID policy that would allow Halcon, a zanjero, to take care of city business while he's on IID time.

There's been some discussion of a policy to allow IID employees holding elective positions to take time for community service.

The informal policy is to require employees to get the approval of their supervisors before engaging in community service on IID time, Hull said.

Halcon's supervisor said he didn't give the councilman permission to go to City Hall on IID time, Hull said.

AN ORANGE GLOW — I know what causes the orange glow at the old Imperial cemetery. I saw it when I first moved here 10 years ago.

My girlfriend then, and now my wife, showed it to me.

There is a bright light on a tall water tower next to the cemetery. When the light hits a black marble tombstone, the stone glows with an orange light and reflects the light. It's really eerie.

We went out there again recently and the light still reflects off the black tombstone.

— Shivering, Brawley

What a place to spend an evening.

A GOLDEN RETRIEVER — We have not been approached by anybody trying to sell us a dog but a golden retriever showed up on our doorstep New Year's Day.

It was a beautiful, clean dog. We called Holtville police to report we had the animal in case the owner was looking for it. We couldn't keep the dog. When nobody came for it, we called the animal control officer to pick it up.

We checked on the dog later in the week. It had not been claimed. The animal control officer took it to the Humane Society shelter. — Rescuer, Holtville

OK, one golden retriever found, three to go. Animal lovers will be glad to know Holtville animal control never kills a dog. Dogs are kept for up to a week, then turned over to the county pound, or in this case, the Humane Society.

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