Probe: June 5, 2001

June 05, 2001

GOOD SOURCES — My source for the information about the burial of veterans in the indigent graveyard was good. I got the information from a deputy coroner.

Your information probably came from the people burying veterans in the potters' field. — Muckraker, Brawley

We put more faith in a source who will talk "on the record." In this instance, we had two sources with no axes to grind and no relationship with each other, Kirk Hems and Francis Frye, both in the funeral business.

We didn't talk to county Public Administrator Norma Saikhon. We knew you would not accept her denial.

Nevertheless, we have one more source to throw into the hopper: Dennis Jones, director of the Central Valley Cemetery District.

Jones said four veterans have been inadvertently buried in the local indigent section in the past 45 years, none since Saikhon was elected to office.

Four vets were laid to rest in the paupers' section in 1956, 1957, 1980 and 1987. In each case their military history came to light only after the burial, Jones said.


If you know of a specific recent incident in which a veteran was buried in potters' field and can give us some documentation, we'll be glad to take another look at the question.

We hear the most outlandish stories from behind cupped hands until we pull out pen and notebook and ask, "How do you spell your name?"

QUESTION: You said it costs more to bury a veteran in the indigent section of the cemetery than transport him to the national cemetery in Riverside. How much does it cost the county to bury a person in the indigent section? — Curious, El Centro

The county pays the cemetery just over $400 for a burial in the indigent section, according to Jones.

The county pays around $200 for transportation to the veterans' cemetery in Riverside where the plot and other cemetery services are free. With mortuary services the package comes to about $600.

QUESTION: Are you ever going to forget you were talking to me when you fell out of your chair and went to the hospital? If you had been sitting in a five-wheeled chair it would not have tipped! — Right-winger, Ocotillo

When will you forget that our chair didn't have five wheels?

QUESTION: Women are not the only victims of "fantasy" cures like expensive vinegar capsules for obesity.

I was in San Diego recently and a radio station, XTRA 630 was advertising a product called KEVUS to grow hair. The disc jockeys claimed they used it and as a result had thick, luxuriant hair!

You know it doesn't work! If it did the company wouldn't need to advertise. Word would get around and people would be beating doors down to buy the product. — Thinning Male, El Centro

Why don't you write to the Federal Trade Commission? Surely the ads violate "truth in advertising" statutes.

We can only warn, "buyers beware." If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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