PROBE: April 26, 2002

April 26, 2002

QUESTION: Today as I was driving on S22 between Salton City and Borrego I noticed a film being made. Just as the road climbs to the top of the canyon they have created adobe buildings set into the rock walls and there are several vehicles, including two helicopters, out there. What are they filming and who may be in it? — Distant Observer, e-mail

The filmers are making an episode of the "X-Files," a sci-fi television series, said Allison Martin, executive director of the Imperial County Film Commission.

The stars of the Fox Network series are not there; they came and left, according to Martin.

In the series the principles of the "X-Files" whiz off to various sites (in one episode, the action took place inside the damaged lungs of a cancer patient) to fight evil and invaders in defense of the world.

QUESTION: How did an 8-year-old get his cat on Medi-Cal so he could get the cat's surgery financed by the state? There are lots of elderly people like me who can't get on Medi-Cal but apparently a cat can receive free medical care. I believe that if you can't afford the expenses of a pet, you shouldn't have one. I would like to see an answer, — Abused Taxpayer, El Centro


You give us one fact that can be confirmed or denied and we'll give you an answer. Frankly we don't think there is an iota of truth in your complaint.

If there is, there must be a great story in there somewhere. Is the little boy terminally ill who without his pet will lose his will to live? Did a kind veterinarian perform the surgery without pay?

Or did a venal vet charge for the surgery and some kindly caretaker juggle Medi-Cal to pay for it? (That would be Medi-Cal fraud.) Did a doctor or hospital personnel pay for the cat care, or did the care giving crew take up a collection?

Or is this just an urban myth feeding on the fears that the poor will siphon off funds that should take care of the elderly?

Inquiring minds want to know.

NEW OR USED GENERATOR? — Although there are some good deals on used generators, the savings will not be as great as reported in PROBE.

You can buy a good used generator for a third of the price of a new one, but the cost of a new generator is about $150,000 not $500,000. By the time you buy the control panels to make the generator kick in automatically, the cost will be about $500,000.

Although a used generator will cost about $50,000, the total cost of installing an automatic system with a used generator will cost almost as much as a new one because there is no saving on the cost of control panels and installation. I would not recommend using a used control panel because there is too much to go wrong with that equipment. — Public Works Director, Brawley

Brawley Public Works Director Manuel Aceves said there are many barely used generators on the market. Before Y2K, cities across the nation bought generators in case a Y2K disaster knocked out electricity.

There were no Y2K disasters and some cites and water districts put their generators on the market, Aceves said.

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