PROBE: August 27, 2001

August 27, 2001

QUESTION: When I go to Kmart I steer clear of the women's restroom. It's always disgusting. It smells so bad I almost have to cover my nose. There's usually dirty toilet paper thrown around the floor and the trash cans are always overflowing. Isn't it some kind of health violation? Besides the cafeteria is just outside the door. — Sniffy, El Centro

Kmart is not the only local facility with that problem. You'll find toilets, some in otherwise squeaky-clean restaurants, that smell worse than outhouses.

Throwing toilet paper on the floor is a cultural thing found on the border. In Mexico, people are too considerate to throw paper in the toilet bowl because it would stop up the plumbing. Mexican sewage systems do not work as well as they do in the United States.

A Kmart assistant manager who didn't want her name in the paper said custodians make regular inspections of the toilets and clean them when needed.


Obviously, they need to check the facilities more often.

IN SEARCH OF HAZEL LIVINGSTON — Hazel Livingston was not an Imperial Valley Press reporter who covered the inquest into the death of Nathaniel West and his wife.

Ms. Livingston was an Imperial County court reporter who transcribed the court proceedings. She worked in the court system until the late 1950s.

Why don't you try to get in touch with Faye Smoots, who worked with Hazel for years? She may know something. You could contact Joe Livernois, a former Imperial Valley Press reporter who used to write an historical column for the paper. He wrote a very good piece about the Nathaniel West accident about 20 years ago. — Regular Reader, El Centro

OK, we called the phone number you gave us and left a message on Faye Smoots' answering machine. We called Livernois, who now works at the Monterey Herald. He said he doesn't know much about the accident. He gleaned his material from old I.V. Press accounts.

We e-mailed this information to writer Tom Larson in San Diego. If we learn anything more, we'll pass it on or you can e-mail him at

QUESTION: There is a family of five that needs a refrigerator, a baby crib, bed, kitchen table and chairs. The youngest child is 2 weeks old. The whole family is sleeping on one mattress on the floor. They desperately need a refrigerator to keep the milk from spoiling for the children. — Missionary Sisters, El Centro

You didn't tell us why the family needs most of the essentials of life. But if you say they do, that's good enough for us.

OK, PROBE readers, if you have any of the above items to share with the family, call us on our PROBE line at 337-3448 or call Sister Maria Luisa Valdez, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, at 353-1263.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles