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Probe: June 13, 2002

June 13, 2002

QUESTION: If a woman is drawing welfare benefits and going to school to get off welfare, what happens if she gets pregnant again? What are the consequences? Are they going to keep helping her and the newborn baby? —Welfare Watcher, El Centro

If a woman gets pregnant while on welfare, she does not get an increase in her cash award. She will be eligible for extra food coupons for cheese, milk and juice for the extra nutritional needs of herself and the baby.

The welfare reforms seem to be working. Welfare recipients are taking seriously the "five years and out" part. That means they can't just kick back and relax in the assurance the check will always come.

Nationally, welfare rolls have dropped by half since the 1990s. Following the trend, Imperial County rolls went from a high of 8,000 to 4,000 receiving cash payments, said Jim Semmes, director of the county's Department of Social Services.

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At the same time welfare rolls went down, the "working poor" numbers went up. Many recipients maintain a tether to welfare through food stamps, Medi-Cal and other survival services.

He credits the drop to more resources for child care, job training and transportation making it possible for parents to go to work.

THE HYPNOSIS CURE — My husband and I were hypnotized. He wanted to quit smoking and I wanted to lose weight. Hypnosis relaxed us but he never did quit smoking and I didn't lose much weight. You could say for us hypnosis didn't work. — Pleasingly Plump, Westmorland

Sorry about that. Our other reader wants to know about self-hypnosis. That could work since it involves giving suggestions to yourself. We'll talk about that another day.

ANOTHER QUESADILLA REMEDY — We too missed the perfection of La Hacienda quesadillas when we moved to Texas 25 years ago.

We bought uncooked quesadillas at Celia's Restaurant in El Centro and froze them for the two-day trip to Texas. Once there we refroze them. When we had a taste for them, we just popped them in the deep fat fryer and they came to life as if fresh.

We also loaded up on carne asada at Pico Market in El Centro for later consumption in Texas. Once you've eaten Mexican food in Imperial County, nothing else satisfies. — e-mail, No Address

Why do you suppose that is?

THWARTED MID-LIFE CRISIS — My husband is mad at you. Getting ready for his 40th birthday and the accompanying mid-life crisis, he gave up beer, had a chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger for lunch to rid himself of a small pot belly, then came home to a perfect quesadilla I made following directions in PROBE.

I used the deep fat fryer but I turned the heat up to 340 degrees, used regular vegetable oil, spooning it over the top, and turned it once. It puffed to perfection.

My husband says you wrecked his diet. He wants to get back the Adonis build he had in his youth and buy a Jaguar. I figure he can have the Jaguar or the Adonis build but not both. — Gourmet Wife, Holtville

You figure he if has both, he will be teaching a younger woman how to shift a Jag. On the other hand, if you can build on HIS pot belly, YOU can eat a special quesadilla now and then.

Relax, a Jag is just a souped-up Ford. What's more, Jags have been available with automatic transmissions since the 1950s.

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