PROBE: Dec. 20, 2001

December 20, 2001

A CHRISTMAS PROJECT — Christmas is the season for giving. I wonder if your PROBE readers could help a family now and for the months ahead.

This family just learned their 18-month-old girl has leukemia. The family has no medical insurance. The trips back and forth between here and San Diego will cost a fortune just for the gasoline. I have the family's name, address and phone number if you need it. — Hoping-to-help, Imperial

What your friends need is a hand to hold and shoulder to cry on during what promises to be a sad holiday. In the meantime, we think we have something better in the way of financial help for the family.

Call Silvia Hernandez of California Children's Services at 482-4438 at the Imperial County Department of Health Services.

If your friends qualify, and we think they will, CCS will pick up the health-care costs, including vouchers to pay for trips to the coast for treatment.


There is an income limit but you don't have to be destitute to qualify. A "typical" family of four earning up to $40,000 a year will qualify. Bigger families may earn more and still come under the umbrella.

Most maladies afflicting children, including leukemia, are covered.

TAKE A NUMBER — I work for the Holtville Unified School District and we are just as frustrated as the young man who wants to go to work in the district but can't get a clearance on his fingerprint analysis.

We have called the state Department of Justice several times to see if we can speed up the work on his background clearance. DOJ never tells us anything.

From time to time we get a letter that there will be another 15-day delay. Usually we get a faster clearance, sometimes in a week or two.

It won't do any good to call Sacramento. They just tell the callers to go to the employing agency. That's us, but they don't tell us, either. — Frustrated, Holtville

State law requires that all school employees be subjected to a background check before they go to work. The background check is meant to weed out pedophiles seeking school jobs.

It doesn't surprise us that the check is taking longer than usual. The fingerprint system may be overwhelmed with all the screening going on since 9-11.

LOOKING FOR MIRACLES — My daughter's family had its electricity turned off for a couple days, meaning no heat and no lights. Her husband is waiting for his produce job to start. She has five kids. They have used candles for two days. … — Grandma, Brawley

We cut short Grandma's voice mail message because by the time we returned the call, the power problem had been resolved. A woman who heard of the family's plight had paid the overdue electric bill and got the power turned on. A MIRACLE! The kids could use some toys.

That doesn't mean there aren't other sad people this season. We're inclined to worry about the lack of food, electricity and shelter. But for some, there are other needs.

We know a woman with no family, no car, little money — to her, a Christmas miracle would be having her cable restored. Cost for that, $60.

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