PROBE: June 15, 2001

June 15, 2001

CHILD CUSTODY — My wife and I separated two years ago. I have legal custody of our two sons and she has custody of our 15-year-old daughter.

Two weeks ago my wife was arrested. She gave custody of our daughter to a woman she knows. If my wife can't keep our daughter, I want her.

I don't want my daughter running wild. If the county will not give me custody, I want it to put my daughter in a foster or a group home, or my mother will take care of her.

I talked to Child Protective Services but they ignore me. Can my wife just decide who will have custody of our child while she's in jail? — Anxious Dad, Calexico


Your estranged wife, the legal custodial parent, may arrange temporary care for your daughter, according to Jim Semmes, director of the county Department of Social Services.

However, if it looks like she will be in jail for an extended period, the court will issue a more formal custody order.

Although he would not discuss the specific issues involved in your daughter's care, he promised to investigate and take any necessary action to protect your child's service.

If your daughter seems to be at risk, the county Child Protective Services can pick up your daughter immediately, Semmes said.

However, Semmes said your ex-wife may be out of jail.

QUESTION: Is it true if you supply your own tools to provide a service, the company must pay you at least double minimum wage? Does the rule apply if you are an apprentice? Reading the posted rules from the state labor code is confusing. After reading the rules, I felt short-changed. — Underpaid, No Address

The rules say if you work at a job that requires you to provide your own tools, the job must pay at least double minimum wage.

However, the state rules that if you work as an apprentice, the company does not have to pay you double minimum wage. The law is clear on that point.

It points out that owning tools is a career investment for an apprentice. Besides, the apprentice can expect to make more money after he learns his craft.

DING-A-LING — I tried the number for Pacific Bell and it worked. I had to listen to their recorded messages but I got through to a live human — and she took the disputed calls off my bill. The whole thing took less than a minute. — Happy Dialer, Westmorland

We're glad it worked for you.

QUESTION: I was driving west on Interstate 8 on Thursday (Flag Day). Just west of Orchard Road, on the north side of the freeway there was a row of flags waving in a gentle breeze. The sight made my day. Who put them there? — Flag fan, Calexico

Clem Muller Jr. of Holtville posted the flags on his ranch to observe the holiday.

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