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PROBE: Oct. 8, 2001

October 08, 2001

QUESTION: My friends and I heard that Heber Collegiate Institute building to Imperial Valley College is haunted. They say a teacher and some children died there and their spirits still roam the halls. My friends and I went ghost hunting at the school. We didn't find or see anything.

Do you know if the rumors are true? Did a teacher and children die there? Is the school haunted? — Ghost Buster, Calexico

Of course it's haunted. Portia Thompson, who owned the building and donated it to the county Historical Society, regularly reported seeing the ghost of a young woman in the building.

Since she couldn't make the ghost move out, Thompson gave away the building and moved Morongo Valley.

Let's be fair. We're not sure Thompson wanted to evict the ghost. Thompson and her friends held a couple of seances in the building and reportedly talked to some departed souls.


We don't remember why the female ghost set up housekeeping in the old school. We never heard anything about a teacher and children who died in the building. If it had happened, we think we would known about it.

If it happened, a PROBE reader will know about it and fill us all in.

QUESTION: American sign language interpreters were promised a raise. We got a letter July 10 telling us we had the raise. The promised raise didn't come through. We had to renegotiate and ended up with raises much lower than promised. Can a raise promised by the Imperial County school board be taken away? — Signer, El Centro

A school board can give and rescind raises, but we don't think that's what happened.

By the time you read this, your raise will be in force (It was settled Monday, the day you wrote your letter) and you will be waiting for a back paycheck that can make your Christmas decidedly merrier.

Your job descriptions were rewritten and you all climbed higher on the county salary range ladder. Entry level signers went from 40 to a 51 on the pay scale. That's higher than the top of the scale was before. That means folks on the bottom will get $19.74 an hour, up from $8.42.

The top scale went from 42 to range 76, where the pay is $36.21 an hour.

What has some signers confused and angry is the new pay scale comes with five steps. Employees took competency tests to see where they fit. Those who scored high will get big raises while those who came in lower will get smaller but generous increases.

HERE COMES THE BOSS — The term "86" to cut off service to an unruly customer started with soda jerks in the 1930s. The soda jerks had a series of numbers to communicate among themselves.

If the big boss wandered into the soda fountain, the first employee to spot him would shout, "98." If a pretty girl came through the door, the code was "87-and-a-half."

If you couldn't find a banana to make a banana split, you would announce, "86 the banana split." And later it meant don't serve an unruly customer or even throw him out the door. I got this from "up the ladder" from somebody who got it from the Internet. — ABC Investigator, Rancho Mirage

Well, so much for our belief that 86 was the number of an old state liquor code and our hope that the Alcohol Beverage Control Board could confirm that for us.

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