PROBE: Aug. 10, 2001

August 10, 2001

QUESTION: This letter is in regard to my previous letter you printed July 27. In response, the tax collector said my payment due and mailed June 30 was postmarked July 6 in San Bernardino. I have visited San Bernardino.

If the tax collector is right, why is the U.S. Postal Service using San Bernardino as a way station for mail from Brawley to El Centro? And how does it happen that the post office fails to postmark envelopes on the day they were mailed? —Angry Taxpayer, Brawley

We guess we thought you knew. The post office trucks intra-city mail to a regional mail processing center in San Bernardino, where the mail is sorted and postmarked. The idea is to take advantage of high-tech equipment too expensive to put in all post offices.

When this works right, the truck picks up the mail in the late afternoon and drops it off in San Bernardino a few hours later. The mail is "worked" that night and trucked back to the Valley in the early morning for delivery the following day.


We can imagine a lot of scenarios that would have delayed your letter for a week. Maybe a sack of mail did not get picked up or a letter stuck to the bottom of the bag.

Every once in a while a letter will surface after 30 or 40 years. Sometimes the delay caused the breakup of a romance. In your case, it cost you $17.

It all goes to show, the postmark is not a reliable measure of when a letter was mailed.

A MOUNTAIN LION — Harold Brockman shot the mountain lion mentioned in PROBE last week. I believe that was in 1946. He brought the animal to the Central Club, a popular Calexico watering hole owned by Alan Mahanna, a disabled World War II veteran. The club was the gathering place for Calexico-area farmers.

That's the only lion I know killed around here.

Brockman was a big farmer in the Mount Signal area. Brockman Road was named after his family. — Old-timer, Calexico

Brockman's daughter, Kay Bishop, who still lives on the family farm, has a picture of the cat and a newspaper clipping. Pictured with Brockman was John Kubler, another Mount Signal-area farmer.

According to the undated newspaper account, the lion measured 70 inches from tail tip to nose. It weighed 100 pounds.

There had been reported sightings of a mountain lion for days when Brockman, a rice farmer and his employee Ernest George spotted it in a rice field. The cat was hiding in a drain pipe when Brockman shot it with a .30-caliber rifle.

"There have been reports for years about a mating pair south of the canal," Bishop said.

Bishop said about once a year a ranch employee will report seeing a mountain lion.

Recently Carl Fowler, an area resident, reported seeing a mountain lion while working a backhoe on the West Main Canal a mile north of Highway 98, she said.

WATERING HOLES — To keep the water cooler, the volunteers are putting out gallon bottles of water in white boxes for the immigrants crossing the desert. The immigrants are taking the water. Last weekend the volunteers replaced 300 gallons. — Volunteer, El Centro

As you might expect, putting out that much clean bottled water can be expensive. A couple of weeks ago there was a radio marathon race to collect donated water.

Radio personalities El Gordo and Eduardo, broadcasting from Olvera Street in Los Angeles, urged listeners to bring a bottle of water to the broadcast booth. They collected a truckload of bottled water.

If you want to help, call Robert Rubio at 353-4168.

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