PROBE: May 15, 2001

May 15, 2001

MORE ABOUT H.C. REED — The day after we talked on the phone, a lady called to say she had read in "The First Thirty Years in Imperial Valley" that Henry Clay Reed was indeed the first editor of the Imperial (Valley) Press.

She said he returned later as the mechanical supervisor with his wife and two children. Since the first, Ruth, was born in 1901, the first baby born in the town site of Imperial, and Ralph was born July 5, 1902, the return must have been sometime after that.

Thank you for writing about our quest. We didn't expect such quick results. — H.C. Reed's grandson, Encinitas

Thank you for adding to our own store of information about our early editor. Like most journalists, he was a restless man.

Now we know he was only 26 years old when he arrived in the Valley with a pregnant wife in tow.


Born in Kentucky, he apprenticed in a print shop when he was 12. By the time he got here, he had worked in print shops, hauled freight and worked on newspapers in Texas and New Mexico. He stayed in the Valley less than a year before moving to San Diego, where he opened a print shop.

He stayed in San Diego seven years before going to work as a print superintendent for a copper company in Cananea, Mexico.

Mexico was in the midst of still another revolution. It was 1910. Two years later he was back in the U.S., this time in Arizona, where he bought the Glendale News.

This time he settled in for 26 years. He surfaced again in San Diego in 1938, where he bought a couple weekly papers, finally owning four. He died in 1950. He was 76.

In 1951 the Henry C. Reed award for editorial writing was established in San Diego County.

QUESTION: When you buy tires you have to pay the dealer to keep the old tires. But if you buy a battery you have to give the dealer your old battery or pay more for the new battery.

I had to buy a battery recently. My wife said, "Take the old battery and they'll give you a discount."

I took the battery. When I bought a battery marked $49 I didn't get a discount. Instead the dealer said the battery would have cost $8 more if I had not brought my old battery. Is that about par for the course? — Shopper, Calexico

It sounds right to us. The last time we bought a battery it cost $96 — and they took our old battery. We didn't argue because we had been towed into Winterhaven after the car stopped running on the freeway.

QUESTION: Is PROBE hooked up to the Internet? — e-mailing, Ocotillo

We are and we're getting some strange stuff. For those who know everything, we offer some stuff they may not know …

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. There are more chickens than people in the world. A cat has 32 muscles in each ear. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

The characters Bert and Ernie on "Sesame Street" were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." A dime has 118 ridges all round the edge (count them).

In England the speaker of the house is not allowed to speak. The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket … now you know (almost) everything.

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