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Probe: June 7, 2002

June 07, 2002

QUESTION: In May and June, welfare checks that usually arrive on the first of the month were late. We didn't get the checks until the third. That may not sound like much but if you live on as tight a budget as people on welfare, you run out of food at the end of the month, and it's a long wait until the third.

Will the checks be late every month from now on? — Paid Late, Brawley

No, says Welfare Director Jim Semmes. The Imperial County Auditor-Controller mailed the June checks May 31 and they should have arrived June 1, he said.

Semmes has more faith in the U.S. Postal Service than we do. For one thing, June 1 fell on Saturday. One day is not much time to process and deliver several thousand welfare checks.

Nevertheless, if your checks would always arrive hereafter on the third day of the month, you would soon adjust. The months will always have the same number of days, no matter when the month starts.

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The day of depending on the mail to deliver the check is coming to an end. Next year the "cash aid" will be delivered by electronic transfer, better known as "automatic deposit" to your checking account, Semmes said.

Social Security benefits have been disbursed by electronic transfer for three or four years. Some seniors objected, preferring to hold the check in hand, cashing it, fondling the money and making their own deposits.

Proponents of automatic deposit say it will cut down on thefts that have plagued paper checks delivered by mail.

An unintended consequence of electronic transfers could be a staggering blow to the post office.

QUESTION: I have been feeding birds. Lately the feed has been attracting pigeons. Pigeons with their droppings are a nuisance. Is there any way to discourage pigeons without harming them? — No Pigeon Fancier, Calexico

We think you will have to find a way to get food and water to the smaller birds without feeding and watering the pigeons. If they don't get sustenance at your place, they may move on.

Look around to see what's available in feeders.

People who put up hummingbird feeders have the same problem. The feeders attract sparrows and bees eager to sup on the sugared water. Luckily some hummingbird feeders come with guards to keep out the poachers while letting the smaller hummers feed.

We don't know much about this subject but we expect PROBE readers know a lot. If so, they can call us at 337-3448 or the Calexico woman at 357-2424.

QUESTION: About the woman who claims the person reporting her to Child Protective Services is a former in-law. The reporting party could be anybody; a doctor or a nurse, a baby-sitter, a neighbor — anybody.

She's had only three reports in three years. That doesn't amount to harassment. There must be a reason for the reports. That's why each incident must be investigated.

Who told her the reporting party is a former in-law? She had better have the proof in her hands — and if she has the proof in her hands, she could go to jail.

It's against the law to reveal the identity of a person who reports suspected child abuse. — Angry, El Centro

We don't know who told her a former in-law is the person who keeps reporting her to Child Protective Services. Probably nobody did. She just made a guess; maybe a lucky one.

You seem to know a lot on this subject which leads us to warn you it's also against the law to look into sealed confidential documents and reveal their contents.

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