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Feb. 22, 2001 PROBE

February 22, 2001

QUESTION: While traveling through Kingman, Williams and Flagstaff, Ariz., I noticed how well the old Route 66 is preserved. There are bumper stickers, T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., all promoting Route 66.

Wouldn't it be nice to do the same with old Route 80? El Cajon, Flynn Springs, Descanso, Pine Valley, Jacumba, Plaster City, Seeley, El Centro, Holtville, Winterhaven and Yuma. What's your feeling on this? — Get Your Kicks, Holtville

It would be nice but very unlikely. Old Highway 80 (doesn't that have a better ring) just doesn't have the cache of Route 66.

You would need another Bobby Troupe song like "Route 66" the 1940s mega-hit that tapped into a shared American experience of packing the car and moving to California, land of dreams and eternal sun. Besides, it was a catchy tune.

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When Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby urged "Get your kicks on Route 66," they laid out a road map: "Chicago to L.A. … 2,000 miles all the way … Joplin, Missouri … Oklahoma City is awful pretty … Phoenix, Arizona — don't forget Winona — Gallup, New Mexico …"

We had been there. Not since the gold rush had so many Americans been on the move — or been so optimistic about the future.

QUESTION: I don't feel like my post-retirement years are "golden years." Today I paid $900 in rent and board to stay in my room at Imperial Oasis. I suppose it's a fair price because it pays for everything, housing, food, transportation to doctors and hospitals and delivery of medicine.

During much of my working life, I was not covered by Social Security. I get a monthly $200 Social Security check to cover my expenses.

Add the cost of dental and optical services not covered by Medicare. Most of my teeth are infected and need to be extracted at $200 per tooth. What shall I do?

I make friends slowly. People don't want to listen to me. I am afraid of the constant depression that afflicts me. — Depressed, Brawley

Stop worrying about money. Get your teeth fixed. That will make you feel better physically.

When you run out of money, you will be eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income. You qualify when your total liquid assets drop to $2,000.

When you become eligible for SSI, you qualify for Medi-Cal, which will pay for all kinds of stuff not covered by Medicare.

Now let's help you make friends. We'll let you in on a secret. Nobody wants to listen to anybody. That's a shame because everybody wants to talk. All you have to do is listen to be in high demand.

Look on the bright side. When you cry, you cry alone. When you smile, the world smiles with you.

A COUNTY RESIDENT — I am sorry but you were wrong. A county elected official must live in the county in which he was elected.

I still live here in Brawley, although I live in an apartment, not my old house. I was raised here and I will continue to live and serve the people of Imperial County no matter where my family chooses to live. — District Attorney, Brawley

Thanks for setting us straight.

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