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Feb. 23, 2001 PROBE

February 23, 2001

QUESTION: I live in an apartment complex owned by the Calexico Housing Authority. The authority is remodeling the apartments. In our section there are 17 units.

To do the remodeling they move the tenants' stuff onto the porch. Some people went to Mexicali to stay with relatives. Others are sleeping outside.

It was cold and rainy last week. The tenants' personal things got wet.

When they remodeled before, they moved the tenant to another apartment. Why didn't they do it this time? — Dislocated, Calexico

"This is the first time I am hearing this," said Calexico Housing Authority Director Lupita Rios. "I go to the site every day."


The plan was to move the furniture in one room, giving the tenant the rest of the apartment to live in.

"We thought that would be easier on the tenants than moving out and then back in again," Rios said.

"What I'm going to do is send a flyer out to the tenants urging them to report any problems or inconvenience," she said.

Eduardo Mejia, the program and contract coordinator, sees it differently. He said the contractor moves the furniture onto the porch but brings it back in at night so the tenants can use the units.

Nevertheless, he said he is not sure the contractor followed that procedure in every case. Mejia promised to investigate and "resolve the problem" if one exists.

Mejia and Rios had different estimates for the time it takes to remodel a unit.

Mejia said he thinks it takes "about a day" while Rios estimated the rehabilitation takes eight days.

Workers are repairing 50 units damaged in past earthquakes. New concrete was poured to strengthen the buildings. The workers are installing new asphalt tile on the floors and painting the walls, according to Rios.

OLD HIGHWAY 80 — Don't be too hasty in dismissing Old Highway 80. There is a book at Pioneers' Museum about the twists and turns on the road.

There's a good piece about Old 80 on the Internet. I'll find it for you. There are people who love old highways! — Back road Driver, Brawley

Before we get the T-shirts and coffee mugs, we have to have a song if we hope to duplicate the fame of Route 66. Old Highway 99 has its own song but we can't remember how it goes. Maybe our PROBE readers know.

PLAY BALL — I am Manuel Avila, president of the Imperial County Sheriffs Association, and we have decided to donate $250 to help start the softball team for the seventh- and eighth-graders at Grace Smith School in Niland. — Prez, El Centro

Thank you. It looks like the team will be running the bases by the start of the season. Nanette Conway, who is heading the effort to equip the team, said she got several calls from people ready to help.

A Calexico teacher brought a bag of bats, balls and other softball paraphernalia. A Brawley man called promising to bring some equipment.

Conway said she got a call from a man with the Imperial Irrigation District who said, "Give us a letter and we'll donate."

If you want to join the effort, call Conway at 353-9329 (home) or 312-6498 (work).

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