PROBE: Jan. 29, 2002

January 29, 2002

QUESTION: Jesus Vidaurrazaga, 12, wanted to help other children. He knew what it was like to be ill. When he was 6 he had a brain accident that left him with a limp.

Perhaps Jesus, who was in sixth grade at Meadows school near El Centro, had a premonition. He told his parents, "When I die I want to donate my organs to help other children."

Saturday Jesus died of a brain hemorrhage at Children's Hospital in San Diego. His parents donated his organs. Despite this gift of life, they don't have the money to bury Jesus. They have two younger children and they need help. — Meadows Teacher, El Centro

This family does not have money but it seems to have friends. Several people called PROBE hoping to raise money to give Jesus a proper burial.


Tracy Mattice, funeral director at Frye Chapel & Mortuary in El Centro, said after the discounts by the mortuary, the cost for mortuary burial in Evergreen Cemetery and a funeral Mass will total $3,500.

Donations for the funeral may be sent to Frye Chapel at 384 W. Main St., El Centro.

QUESTION: What's going on at the state Department of Motor Vehicles? They tell us to call for appointments to renew driver's licenses and car tags, then they discontinue their local telephone number and replace it with an 800 number that is eternally busy. DMV's claim of providing customer service is a bunch of hooey. — Discontented Consumer, El Centro

Right on! And we would tell them so, if we could get through!

Actually, we did get through and listened to music until we got a recording that advised us to punch numbers. Finally we got a choice that promised "appointments."

It was an empty promise. There was never an opportunity to make an appointment. We started over, dialing the 800 number again. This time we punched a number that offered a DMV agent. By then it was after 5 p.m. and a recording informed us the agents were no longer available.

It's becoming clear that nobody wants to talk to consumers, not governmental agencies or insurance or corporate office personnel. If you want to suffer a nightmare, deal with a flock of insurance snarls after a major illness.

Getting one issue resolved can take a morning.

A PLATE OF BARBECUE — A few months ago a PROBE reader wanted good barbecue and other people suggested places from Indio to Memphis, Tenn. There's no need to go to Bubba's in Yuma when you can get good barbecue at a new restaurant, Cochran's Barbecue in El Centro. — Yummy, Imperial

We didn't try Cochran's barbecue but Bubba's will be hard to beat. We ate there Sunday.

On Monday we ordered from Cochran's — fried catfish, black-eyed peas, collard greens and peach cobbler, all delivered.

If you're not Southern, you may not appreciate black-eyed peas and greens but if you are, you'll know this is the real thing. The greens were seasoned with meat and hot pepper sauce. We're not talking salsa here. We're talking the clear pickling liquid drained from the sizzling little green peppers!

You could live to be 100 years old on nothing more than black-eyed peas, greens and corn bread — without the fish — but a life without catfish is a lesser life.

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