Jan. 22, 2001 PROBE

January 21, 2001

PROPERTY TAX HELP — You told us not to send any money to a company promising to help us get state money to pay our local property taxes. Did you find out how to apply for the money? — Senior Citizen, Imperial

Yes, but first you have to get an application form. Call (800) 338-0505 and ask for an application.

If you are over 62, have a household income under $33,993 and own your own home, you are eligible for state homeowner's assistance to pay the taxes on your home.

You can down load the application from the Internet. The address is If you are hooked to the Internet, you can probably use the computer at your city library. If you are not computer-literate, you may need help. Ask your grandchildren.

Obviously some people in state government want to help seniors pay their property taxes. We're wondering why the state made it so difficult to get application forms. Why not make the forms available at state offices?


CHILD SUPPORT MYSTERY — The woman and her family who had no money for Christmas because her child-support checks didn't arrive should be getting her first January check any day now and at least one of her December checks soon.

We are investigating what happened to the check. Her ex-husband's employer said the checks were mailed in December.

Neither check reached the county family support office. One may be lost in the mail but the second check was cashed. A stop payment was put on the first check and a new one issued. As soon as we receive the reissued check, we will send a check to the woman.

The employer is waiting to get the cashed check back from the bank so the signature can be examined. Both the company and our office are looking into why the check did not arrive at family support. — Deputy DA, El Centro

It definitely sounds like more than a computer glitch was involved in this "Case of the Wayward Check."

QUESTION: One of my high school classmates says back in the mid-1950s a celebrity was killed in El Centro.

He thought it was Tom Mix. I disagreed but I now have a nagging buzz that he may be right. Will you ask PROBE readers if they know if a celebrity was killed in El Centro? — Boomer, Temecula

That was 50 years ago but if anybody of any note was killed in El Centro, PROBE readers will know and tell us about it.

A lot of celebrities have passed through the Imperial Valley. Among the visitors were John Wayne, Clark Gable, Gene Autry.

Cowboy star Tim Holt used to come down regularly to ride in local parades. Spike Jones grew up in Niland. Cher was born in El Centro. Marlon Brando's ex-wife was arrested in Westmorland on suspicion of kidnapping her son, Christian.

We don't ever recall hearing Tom Mix was here. The only celebrity we recalled getting killed here was Nathanial West, the writer, who ran a stop sign at the intersection of Highways 111 and 80 (Evan Hewes).

That was in the late 1930s. West was rushing to Los Angeles to catch a plane to go to the funeral of fellow writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles