Feb. 19, 2001 PROBE

February 19, 2001

QUESTION: I represent the El Centro Senior Citizens Club. We meet at the Community Center on First Street.

Would you help us get the sign back for McGee Park? The city took down the sign about a year ago for routine maintenance. It's still down.

We have been asking for months to have the sign put up again. The city promises but never gets around to doing it.

The park was named for DuBois McGee, the first black mayor of El Centro.

We would like to get the sign back up before the end of February, which is Black History Month. — Senior, El Centro


You're not going to get the sign installed again this month or even next month. If you want that sign, you had better do some serious lobbying or plan some fund-raising events.

You might have guessed there was a problem when the city stalled instead of re-hanging the sign.

Ken Skillman said he inherited the sign issue when the Parks and Recreation Department was assigned to him four or five months ago.

A year ago the wind blew down McGee Park's plywood sign, shearing its wooden 30-foot pole. Estimates for replacing the sign and pole came in at $5,000, Skillman reported.

"We didn't have that much money," he said.

The estimate covers a new, sturdier steel pole that should survive a strong wind. City departments are working on their budgets now for the new fiscal year.

"We're trying to work that in," Skillman said.

But there may not be enough money in the parks budget to cover the new sign, Skillman said.

SAFER VEGETABLES — In the March 1999 issue of Consumer Reports, there is an article comparing the safety of homegrown vegetables and imported produce.

After an investigation, the magazine concluded that overall, the imported produce was safer than the domestic product. I will bring you a copy. — Reader, Imperial

Thank you but our advice still stands. Wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Farmers in the Imperial and Mexicali valleys use water from the Colorado River to irrigate crops.

The majority of farm workers who harvest the crops live in Mexicali while a percentage of the growers live on this side of the line.

HOW HIGH THE MOUNTAIN — When Professor Luther Phinely taught engineering at Imperial Valley College, he taught his students to use a laser surveying tool.

For 10 or 12 years he required them to measure the height of Mount Signal. He said the tool was accurate within a quarter foot on a mountain the size of Mount Signal.

It would be interesting if any of Phinely's engineering students could tell us how high he or she found the mountain. — Retired IVC Board Member, El Centro

Maybe we will hear from one of them.

QUESTION: Have you noticed there are no Hispanics on the "Jerry Springer" show….

(Two weeks later) Omigosh! Today there are Hispanics on the "Jerry Springer" show… Whew! It's OK, they're Puerto Ricans, not Mexicans. … — Hispanic, Calexico

We hope you are not putting down Puerto Ricans.

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