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Probe: Sept. 17, 2001

September 17, 2001

QUESTION: What's going on with the Holtville schools? Tuesday there was a bomb threat at the middle school and Wednesday there was one at the high school. I am going to keep my kids at home. — Angry Mom, Holtville

Why would you blame the school district because some jerk decided to stir up a little mischief and scare little kids?

Neither threat was aimed at any particular school, according to Ann Mallory, the interim superintendent while the district waits for Pat Maruca to start work in Holtville.

About 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the day of the terrorist attacks on the East Coast, a weirdo with a male voice called the school and announced there were bombs hidden in some unidentified school sites.

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All five Holtville schools were evacuated while the Holtville police, the FBI, the Imperial County Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol searched the buildings.

Meanwhile, the kids waited safe distances from the schools.

Before 8 a.m. Wednesday, a male voice called again with the same message. The kids were marched out again.

Mallory said she decided to keep the kids at school during the search both days because, "With so many parents working, many children would have been sent home to empty houses."

SENIOR DRIVING — Tell the Holtville senior citizen looking for help in passing his driver's test, the American Association of Retired Persons will have its "55 Alive" classes in October. The charge is $10 for two four-hour sessions.

To schedule a class, we need to sign up 15 participants. Your reader may call us at 354-1209. We need to hear from him as soon as possible so we can set up the class.

If we're not in, leave a message on our voice mail. All we need is your name and phone number. We will return the call. — Coordinator, Bombay Beach

Make sure you say your name and telephone number clearly and distinctly. Repeat the number.

In the meantime, pick up the book on California driving at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. We believe it's free. Read through it a couple times. Put it aside a day or two and run through it again.

If you do, you could find yourself the smartest "kid" in the class because that's the book that will be used, according to Frank Raymond, AARP local coordinator.

We're convinced people don't learn a fact the first time they come up against it. It takes repetition to lock it in.

QUESTION: With the talk of war, we were talking about food rationing during World War II. My husband was at Fort Bliss in 1944 in El Paso, Texas. He claims the mess hall served horse meat.

I think he's kidding because my mother and I are from Texas.

He insists there was a sign in the mess hall that said: "On the menu today, horse meat." Do you know or do you think your readers would know if soldiers ate horse meat during World War II? — Doubtful Wife, Calexico

Meat was in short supply during that fracas but we don't think the army rounded up horses to feed the troops, even in Texas.

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