PROBE: October 22, 2001

October 22, 2001

QUESTION: With the talk about bioterrorism I get more and more uneasy about the crop dusters parked on rural air strips. How secure are the planes? Is the Sheriff's Office doing extra patrols to make sure a terrorist doesn't steal one to spread anthrax spores? — Worried, Calexico

Chief Deputy Charles Jernigan, the highest-ranking official on duty Friday afternoon, said the citizens of Imperial County are "well-protected." When we pushed to know if deputies were regularly cruising by parked crop dusters, he said he would not go into "operational" details to tell us how we are being protected.

He was more interested in telling us that our duty was to calm the citizenry. Our attitude is that an informed citizenry is a calmer citizenry. Of course reasonable folks may differ.

A SNAIL'S PACE — The enclosed letter was mailed from my church to my home eight blocks away. Nine days later, it reached San Bernardino, 120 miles away (an average speed of 15 miles) where it was postmarked. Is the Brawley post marker broken?


It took only three days to make it back (average speed of 40 miles per day). By this time the information was outdated and useless.

It took the letter 12 days to go eight blocks, an average speed of about 100 yards a day. According to the World Almanac, the average speed of a garden snail is .03 miles an hour or about 1,200 yards a day. Thus a garden snail is 12 times faster than the U.S. Postal Service! — Mail Critic, Brawley

Why do you think they call it "snail mail?"

We know how you feel. We used to feel that way. But there is a method to the postal madness.

They haul the mail to San Bernardino to take advantage of expensive, high-technology machines to sort the mail to save money.

Most of the time, the mail returns in time for delivery the next day. But sometimes it gets stuck somewhere along the way.

WHEN LIFE WAS SIMPLE — One would think as the population increases we would get more services. Instead we get less.

Once, if I had a motoring problem, I could stop by the American Automobile Association in El Centro. That hasn't been true since they closed the office.

If you have a question for the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can't just pick up the phone anymore and call. As PROBE Thursday reported, it took three days of calling to get a "live body."

Modern technology may have many benefits but sometimes I yearn for the "good old days" when life was simpler. — Unhappy Camper, El Centro

It didn't take us three days to get a live body. It took us three days to find a "body" in Sacramento that made any sense.

Although we have great admiration for technology, we wonder why is it that with all the labor-saving devices, nobody has time to peel potatoes anymore? The last time we had "real" mashed potatoes we had to chew the lumps. It was wonderful. Only real mashed potatoes have lumps.

LOOKING FOR SPARKLES — I've been driving up and down alleys for days looking for Sparkles, my small white poodle. My granddaughter and I live alone. We heard a man stole her to breed poodles. He's going to be surprised. Sparkles has been spayed. — Waiting for Sparkles, El Centro

OK, readers, there is a reward (and no questions asked) for the return of Sparkles. Call 353-1643.

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