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Probe: March 13, 2002

March 13, 2002

QUESTION: Is it true that some Stafford loans may be forgiven if you work for a child development center? I work at one and I am repaying a Stafford loan at $220 monthly. — Indebted, El Centro

Up to 100 percent of your loan may be canceled if you are working for an "eligible" public or private non-profit child- or family-service agency providing or supervising the services to high-risk children from low-income communities and the families of such children.

Your employer should know if the center qualifies as an eligible agency. If not, check with the state Department of Education.

We don't know what credentials you hold, but every school district in the Imperial Valley qualifies as a low-income school district, which means the schools may cancel up to 100 percent of your Stafford or Perkins loans.

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You also may get up to 100 percent of your loan canceled if you have served full-time as a nurse or medical technician; a qualified professional provider of early-intervention services in a public or nonprofit program under public supervision, a staff member in the educational part of a preschool program carried out under the Head Start Act or worked as a qualifying law enforcement or corrections officer.

QUESTION: We suspect a woman next door is involved in prostitution, dealing in drugs or both. People are coming and going all day and all night. At 1:30 in the morning a woman ran out of the house screaming, "Madonna!"

After midnight we saw a man sneak up to our neighbor's bedroom window. We think she was handing him drugs through the window. People come through our back yard and jump over the fence into her yard.

It's so bad we are thinking about selling our house, but why should we sell our house so our neighbor can continue their activities? What can we do? — Sleepless, Imperial County

When the neighbors are disturbing your peace, call the police. We would have called for you but you didn't give us a clue where this curious, if not criminal, activity, is under way.

QUESTION: What is an intellectual? Are they always liberals? — Curious, Ocotillo

We've had this question but frankly, we've never been sure about the answer. Albert Einstein was a brainy man but was he an intellectual? Probably.

So how does one define "intellectual?" We've always thought it was somebody who devoted his or her life to acquiring knowledge to come to some overriding truth. But we've never been sure about that.

However, we ran into a definition in the March 11 edition of the U.S. News and World Report that satisfies us. It was not a real definition but more an "ideal associated with a commitment to universal truths rising above economic, ethnic or political interests."

We decided that was close enough to serve as a definition, then we ran against the problem. How do you define "truth" and who decides if the truth is universal?

QUESTION: I read in your paper that Wal-Mart likely will never build a Super Wal-Mart in Calexico. Why then did the Arkansas chain spend $140,000 to defeat Measure B that would have kept a super store out? — Disappointed, Calexico

Wal-Mart spent more than that but $140,000 is just chump change to the billion-dollar corporation. It was a small sum to keep the chain's options open.

And we didn't say that Wal-Mart wasn't planning to open a Super Wal-Mart in Calexico. We said it has no plans to do so at the moment.

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