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PROBE: December 10, 2001

December 10, 2001

ARE WE THERE YET? — I also drive from Holtville to El Centro daily on Evan Hewes Highway and I also resent the long waits for a green light at the Highway 111 junction. But even worse is the condition of the intersection as the work continues. When will the construction cease? — Daily Commuter, Holtville

The completion date for "phase one" is December 2002, according to the California Department of Transportation.

We're afraid it will get worse before it gets better. Work on the intersection is in the first part of a three-phase project to turn Highway 111 into a four-lane expressway from the border to Brawley.

The initial phase is a five-mile stretch from Ross Road to Worthington Road. There's a lot of work left to be done on both sides of the highway junction. We hope that means the intersection work could be completed in less than a year.

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Look off to the side of the road as you approach from Holtville. You will see what looks like a new section of highway that will cross Evan Hewes just east of the present intersection. That could mean a detour in our future.

But for now, it's better than it was a week ago. The approach to the light is smoother and the east-west traffic seems to be getting a little more crossing time. Maybe Caltrans reset the signal light to give Holtville commuters a few extra seconds crossing time as a result of your complaints, or maybe the camera out there is taking more notice of Holtville crossers.

As for a future detour, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

SOME CARING PEOPLE — Tell the young mother who lost $500 from her last welfare check during her work break at Wal-Mart there are still many honest people in the world.

When we were shopping at Wal-Mart last week, my husband dropped a $10 bill on the floor. A woman picked it up and handed it to him.

I am sending you a $20 bill to pass along to the woman who lost her money. — Caring Person, Brawley

You got it. When somebody does something nice for you, you have to pass it on. You chose to pass it on twofold. Your $20 won't pay the rent but it might buy a couple small dolls for the woman's two little girls, ages 8 and 3, with enough left over to buy a couple of bottles of formula for the 10-month-old boy.

Who knows how many times your $20 will be multiplied as that little Niland family lives out their lives, passing on your kindness to others who may pass it on to others?

We mailed the money. She should have it by now. It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas. Thank you!

UNDER A DOLLAR — I bought gasoline for 98 cents a gallon in Yuma last week. Turn off at the Yuma exit. It's the station across the street from McDonald's. — Price Checker, Ocotillo

Thank you. Although we don't begrudge Yuma consumers 98- cent gas, seeing $1.39 gas at local pumps gave us a twinge. We had just filled up and our tank was bloated with $1.49 gas. It wouldn't hold another drop.

You know how you feel after you've eaten until you're in misery and then they bring out your favorite dessert? If our timing holds, gasoline will be up to $1.59 by the time we need gasoline again.

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