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Probe, December 3, 2001

December 03, 2001

On the Thanksgiving 2000 weekend there was extreme lawlessness in the local desert with many arrests. Were any of those people prosecuted?

This year it was even worse. There were shootouts. Are we going to do anything to quell the violence, or are we going to let these "visitors" get away with murder?

Is it the money? If there were 100,000 people out there and if they spent $100 a piece, that's $10 million. I guess for that kind of money we could overlook a lot. — Country Boy, Calexico

County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said Imperial County will not overlook that kind of crime. To prevent a repeat of the Thanksgiving mess over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, he said, county officials have been conferring all week with state and federal officials.

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Leimgruber estimated there were 190,000 visitors in the desert over the Thanksgiving 2001 weekend, seriously outnumbering local residents and the county's ability to cope.

If each visitor spent $100 (each one didn't), it would have added up to more than pocket change.

So how do we keep our money-toting visitors without having them terrorize the natives, and each other?

Leimgruber, whose supervisorial District 5 includes the Glamis and Algodones sand dunes, said it's necessary to get more cops in the dunes.

"There were 1,000 incidents out there — and we're not talking about illegal parking," he said.

In addition to brawling, drug and alcohol abuse, drunken driving and possible drug dealing, there was the gun battle.

Nevertheless, the reported criminal acts added up to one each for one half of 1 percent of the visitors, according to Leimgruber.

"Most of the people in the dunes were families who wanted to get out of the city. I was out there. There were many law-abiding people in the desert," he said.

Yes, there were numerous arrests and prosecutions stemming from the Y2K desert debacle. If you didn't notice, it was because the trials were in federal courts because the violations occurred on federal land, making them federal cases.

There is an ongoing affair involving a school secretary and a custodian. They hold hands, stand close to each other and disappear into empty classrooms. The participants are married to other people.

It's so blatant even the kids are talking. What can I do? My son told me and I went to school, sat on a bench and watched. She kept coming out of the office until he appeared. You couldn't miss the sparks! — Uneasy Mom, North County

You could talk to the principal or use this to start an important talk with your son, or hope the lovers will take this as a warning and cool it. Being cowardly, we would opt for both of the last two options.

LOOKING FOR 1917 YEARBOOK — My mother was in the Central Union High School class of 1917. There's was no 1917 yearbook. It was canceled because of World War I. — Helpful, El Centro

In that case, not even PROBE readers can find it. Thank you.

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