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Probe: September 19, 2001

September 19, 2001

QUESTION: I enjoy crossing the border into Mexicali. In the wake of the tragic attacks on the East Coast, I know the border guards are being stricter. Do I need a birth certificate to cross into the United States? Do you how long it takes to cross the line? — Timid Crosser, Calexico

It's going to take longer than usual. How long depends on the traffic and how many people are crossing. A border guard told us vehicles are getting closer inspections. Inspectors are looking under the hoods and in the trunks.

If you're driving, it could take from 15 minutes to hours depending on the time of day and the work load on the inspectors.

If you are a U.S. citizen, all you have to do is convince the inspector. He will use his own judgment. If you haven't needed a birth certificate before, you probably won't need it now.

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If you are a resident alien, you will need your green card and possibly other identification, the same documentation you've always needed.

If you're driving, it will be quicker to go through the Calexico East Port of Entry. It closes at 10 p.m.

UNAPPRECIATED REMARKS — I am P. Douglas Osborne, owner of Osborne Orthopaedic Systems in El Centro. I got your message and I heard what you wrote about me in the newspaper.

You didn't get the story right. I didn't appreciate it. I will call you tomorrow and tell you the whole story. Mr. Watson will get his brace. I'm just not able to finish it now.

I became gravely ill and had to close my office. — Orthopaedist, Hemet

We tried to call you for almost a week, but we are relieved. We just hope it doesn't take you too long to get better. Utah needs his brace so he can throw away his crutches.

QUESTION: I hope you can help me. My air conditioner has been having problems since 1991. The repairman told me today it can't be fixed. I am disabled with an income of less than $800 a month. I get a Supplemental Security Income check.

The county public administrator (Norma Saikhon) handles my finances. She says I don't have any money in my account.

Do you think one of your readers will sell me a used air conditioner and let me pay it off on payments? I could pay about $20 a month. — Sweating, Brawley

Saikhon said she had been hoping your ancient air conditioner would make it through the summer — and it almost made it.

Don't get your hopes up, but Saikhon said there may be some help on the way for you. We'll keep you posted.

QUESTION: I am the mad mother from Holtville. Why didn't the school call me when they sent my kids out in the sun after the bomb scare? They called other parents and they came down and picked up their kids. Why didn't they call me? — Still Mad, Holtville

We don't think that's what happened.

Ann Mallory, interim superintendent of the Holtville Unified School District, said students called their parents on their cell phones and let other students use the phones to call their parents.

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