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, MARCH 28, 2002

March 28, 2002

QUESTION: I am the parent of a Calexico High School senior and I would like to know why the high school is taking the senior class to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? Don't they know it's dangerous over there? This is crazy. Why don't they take them someplace in the United States? — Worried Mom, Calexico

The high school is not taking the seniors anywhere, according to Roberto Moreno, superintendent of the Calexico Unified School District. If they are going, it's a class activity, not a school function.

If you don't want your daughter to go, put your foot down. Whether she goes depends on her relationship with you. By then, she will be 18 years old and legally an adult. If she decides to go anyway, there's not much you can do about it.

Of course, if she expects you to pay for it, you're in the driver's seat.

Don't fret. We've been to Puerto Vallarta. It's not one of the dangerous areas in Mexico. We've been to Mazatlan when hordes of American high school graduates descended like a noisy flock of starlings. Although they were running around sloshing beer in the hotel corridors, they didn't seem to be in any danger. Since they didn't have cars, drinking and driving was not a problem.


The seemed to be role playing wild and crazy American students, but we think it was more hype than real.

Sometimes you have to set your jaw and hope for the best. It's like when you let her go on her first date or turned her loose with the car when the ink was still wet on her driver's license.

If you raised her to be a sensible, responsible young woman, she'll be all right. But sooner or later she has to be on her own, using her judgment and making choices. It's better if she makes them now while you're still around to pick up the pieces if necessary.

QUESTION: There was a nice story in Sunday's paper about Valley firefighters to be honored among 800 who died in the line of duty at an April ceremony in Sacramento. You mentioned four but you didn't name the volunteer fireman who died in the Barbara Worth Hotel fire. — Mature, Seeley

The man killed in the Barbara Worth fire was not a firefighter but John Holder, the owner of the California Hotel that burned a year or so later.

Although initially identified in a newspaper story as a "volunteer," he was an onlooker who grabbed a firehose to help firefighters battle the Jan. 21, 1962, blaze.

It was a spectacular fire, fed by high winds; its glow and black smoke could be seen as far away as Brawley, according to El Centro fire Capt. David Hudson.

Hudson, still a child, was visiting relatives and he could see the glow on the horizon.

"My uncle stood on the roof of his house on Euclid Street and took movies of the fire. We have them somewhere," he said.

The burned-out shell of the former landmark, its basement full of dank water, stood for years on Main Street.

QUESTION: While El Centro boasts about it's downtown project, shouldn't the city be thinking about putting a signal light at the intersection of La Brucherie Road and Adams Avenue? — Geronimo, e-mail

The city is doing the design work for the signal installation even as we write. Holding up the project are the negotiations to buy more land to widen the intersection.

The signal should be in by early fall, said City Engineer Ken Skillman.

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