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Probe: April 17, 2002

April 17, 2002

QUESTION: Several years ago we attended an onion festival at the fairgrounds. Will there be a festival this year? What weeks will the onions be harvested? — No Tears, e-mail

The onion harvest starts next week and will continue into the middle of May but there will be no festival to celebrate the local onions that were so sweet you could eat one like an apple.

There hasn't been an onion festival for three or four years. We never tasted onion ice cream, believing we could always do it.

We're not sure what happened but we couldn't find a number for the Imperial Sweet Onion Commission, the festival promoter. The commission pushed the local globes.

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Markets as far north as the state of Washington featured the California onions in their advertisements. One former Valleyite sent us copies of the ads. Washington is the home of the famous Walla Walla onion.

For a few years onions rode a pedestal as a food fad favorite said to make you to feel better and live longer.

Broccoli climbed on board, full of fiber and antioxidants to protect you from cancer.

QUESTION: Since we moved to our new location on Fourth Street our business has been very good. However, Fourth Street is busy with lots of traffic all day long, from everyday people running their errands to big commercial trucks.

I have one complaint. Why does Imperial County Transit stop its bus right in the middle of the street? When the bus stops so does the rest of the traffic, I can hear the frustrated drivers honking their horns. One of the bus stops is in front of our office. It's an inconvenient place for a bus to stop. There is barely room for the cars and trucks, much less a big bus. I have seen other stops and they seem to have room to pull over and stay clear of traffic.

I have nothing against the people who ride the bus. I know what it's like to be without a car. I think the bus stop locations should be relocated. — Frustrated Bus Watcher, El Centro

Gene Francis of Imperial County Transit said the buses do not stop in the middle of the street. They pull to the curb to let passengers get on and off the bus.

You're right. Fourth Street is a busy thoroughfare. You didn't tell us where your office is but there are two stops, one at Brighton and another at Wensley.

There are plans to put in two more this fall, one at the Department of Social Services and one at the Social Security office, which is actually a bit off Fourth.

QUESTION: Every time I pick up the paper I see that Congressman Bob Filner is back in the Valley. Filner has been here more in the last five months than Duncan Hunter in 10 years. As a lifelong Democrat I may be biased, but it seems to me Filner is on the move. — Yellow Dog Democrat, Calexico

Of course he's on the move. Filner is running for Congress with the Imperial Valley as part of his district for the first time, and this is a valley that hasn't sent a Democrat to Washington since John Tunney. If he don't win the election, he's unemployed, but he has a good chance because much of the district is an area Filner has represented for years.

Tunney, son of boxing champion Gene Tunney and a friend of the Boston Kennedys, had an edge. He didn't live in the district but he rented a hotel room in Riverside.

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