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Stories of the Past: Friday, March 30, 2001

March 30, 2001

50 years ago — A sullen and bitter Billy Cook, 23, began serving a 300-year prison sentence on Alcatraz Island for the killing of a family of five. In Imperial County, District Attorney Don C. Bitler was still awaiting a federal OK to transfer Cook here to stand a trial for the desert murder of a Seattle salesman.

40 years ago — Clay Williams, caretaker of Wiest Lake in Brawley, reported the theft of a battery and gas tank from the county patrol boat. An attempt was made to loosen the motor and controls as well, said Williams.

30 years ago — County officials met in a two-hour secret meeting to allow geothermal developers to obtain drilling, production and geothermal permits in one step. The five-paragraph policy, the third to be sent to the Planning Commission for recommendation for the Board of Supervisors, would permit development to begin at once.

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20 years ago — The film industry's highest prize, the Academy Awards, will be presented tonight at the Los Angeles Music Center, and to the winners will go glory … and gold. "The Eruption of Mountain St. Helens," an Oscar nominee for the best short documentary film in 1981 was produced and directed by Brawley native George Casey Jr.

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