Probe: May 2, 2002

May 02, 2002

QUESTION: We are parents of members of the Imperial High School swim team. The team swims at Imperial Valley College. The Imperial High swimming coaches permit our children to swim when the pool is dirty or over-chlorinated.

The chlorine is so strong it fades the suits and some suits are so thin you can see through them. Some girls wear two suits. Swimsuits are expensive. Don't the coaches have kits to test pool water? Don't they care if the kids get an infection in a dirty pool? — Anxious Parents, Imperial

The coaches don't need to test the water at the IVC pool. The college maintenance crew cleans the pool and tests the water daily.

"We monitor chlorine levels constantly. When we super-chlorinate on Friday, we close the pool for 24 hours," said Sergio Lopez, director of student affairs and overseer of summer swim programs.


"Swimsuits are the least of our worries. We are concerned with public health," he said.

We agree swimsuits are expensive. Sun and chlorinated pools are rough on the colors of the suits. During a season a purple suit fades to a limp lavender.

We suspect that abrasion from the pool deck accounts for the thinning fabric. Chlorine strong enough to eat away fabric would fray the swimmer's hide.

QUESTION: I live in the 200 block of Aurora Drive in El Centro. Every time the wind blows, dirt and trash flies from an empty lot on the south side of the 300 block. The trash lands on the north side of our block.

The street was recently repaired but all you can see along the curb is the mud that clogs the runoff from the homes on our side of the street. I talked to a city employee. He said there's not much he can do.

The lot owner is not very cooperative. I talked to him but he didn't seem to care. Is there anybody (or anything) to help us take care of the problem once and for all? — Dusted, El Centro

Short of forming an assessment district or a garden club to plant grass and turn that empty lot into a pocket park, we don't know of anything.

Since the trash blows all over the neighborhood, we are assuming you're not complaining about junk cars, stacked lumber or broken concrete.

Dean Davidson, head of El Centro's building department, said windblown trash falls in the "act of God" category. There's not much you can do about that, short of shaking your fist at the sky and shouting, "Hey, knock it off!"

A CONSUMER WARNING — I usually can spot a consumer scam a mile away, but I got suckered on this one. When I got an offer for a credit card, the offer did not seem too good to be true. It did seem legitimate so I sent a $39 check to cover a "one-time only" fee to the "Miami-based" company.

I sent the check March 20, it was cashed March 27, and my checking count was hit twice with electronic levies in April for a total of $117.

My bank says it can put a stop on $39 levies but if the company levies another amount, like $38 or $42, it will clear. What worries me is I also sent my Social Security number.

Please warn other residents. I am sure this company flooded Imperial County mailboxes with its credit card offers. — Suckered, El Centro

OK readers, you've been warned. Don't send any checks to a strange credit card company. We've haven't had a chance to check this company because we wanted to issue the warning first.

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