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Probe: March 6, 2002

March 06, 2002

QUESTION: I am 14. Everybody at school is talking about a suicide in Holtville. I haven't seen anything in the paper about it. I am confused and concerned. Will you investigate? — Confused. Holtville

What you have been hearing is a young woman died of a gunshot wound last week. The incident is under investigation. Holtville Police Chief Charles Simpson called for a meeting Thursday so the investigators can compare notes and come to a conclusion. We'll keep track of the case and let you know what the investigators conclude.

QUESTION: Do you remember the playground and the little train at the Imperial drive-in? Back then the screen was a large structure and the train went through it. If I remember right, the total length of the track was 400 or 500 feet. What I don't remember was what made the little engine go. Do you think any PROBE readers would know if it ran on electricity, steam or maybe diesel? — Toot Toot, Imperial


Some of our readers will know how much horsepower the little engine generated. The engine was powered by gasoline.

That's according to Mark Gran, who used to manage the Motor-Vu and now sells real estate.

"Drive-ins were my favorite places," Gran said. "You could sit out under the stars and watch a movie."

Gran grew up around drive-ins. "My dad owned drive-ins in Wisconsin. I learned the business from the ground up."

You're right about the movie screen. Inside there was a huge storage area. There was a ladder to the top of it to climb up and make repairs. He said the screen was about 80 feet high. From time to time, the screen had to be painted, a monumental chore, Gran said. In it's heyday the Motor-Vu had parking for 500 cars, according to Gran.

In time, drive-in movie owners ripped out their playgrounds and tore up their little railroads.

"It was a liability issue," Gran said.

QUESTION: I am a student of Ron Nicholson, who teaches at Central Union High. In the past week he has expressed his feelings on stealing and the meaning of life. He is not just a teacher of English but a teacher of life as well as a mentor. My teacher has had his late-model green Toyota Tacoma pickup stolen. I would like people to keep their eyes open for my teacher's truck. Mr. Nick is the greatest teacher to walk the planet. — Student, El Centro

We guess there's nothing like losing a late-model green pickup to make one rethink priorities and concentrate on the meaning of life.

When we went home one night and found our videocassette recorder gone, we had to rethink our values. At the depth of our depression, we remembered the VCR hadn't worked for two years and felt better. A month later we came home and found only a patch of dust where our bedroom television had been. It took time to get over the TV set.

OK, PROBE readers, keep your eyes peeled for a stolen green truck.

GOOD JOB, PROBE READERS — Thanks for putting the names of our lost classmates in PROBE so we can invite them to our 50-year class reunion. We found 11, five alive and six who have passed away. That leaves 36 missing. — Central Class of 1952, El Centro

You have until October to find them. When word of the reunion gets out, some may find you.

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