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Probe: June 14, 2002

June 14, 2002

A STREET NAMED VILLA — Martha Martinez, the woman pushing to change El Centro's Fourth Street into Paul Rodriguez Boulevard, said El Centro doesn't have a single street named after an Hispanic. What about Villa Avenue?

I think it was named for the Villa family. I went to high school with Teddy Villa, who lived on what is now Villa. There's also Pico.

If she wants to name a street after a prominent Hispanic, how about Manuel Ortiz, the El Centro fighter who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame? — Street Namer, Calexico

Tell us more about the Villa family.

Q UESTION: I found this story on the Internet. Did it really happen?

According to the Internet, a worker at the U.S. Gypsum plant at Plaster City discovered a hole in an overhead screw conveyer that moves material from one place to another. Over time the screw had worn a hole in the pipe carrying the gypsum.

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The worker stuck his finger in the hole and the screw cut the finger off at the first joint. When a supervisor came to the accident scene shortly thereafter, other workers pointed out the hole and told him what happened. The supervisor stuck his finger in the hole where it was promptly amputated. (Dumb is as dumb does.)

Two weeks later an insurance investigator stopped by the plant. Tape now covered the hole. The investigator pulled off the tape, stuck his finger in the hole and the screw severed it, thus proving an accident not only could but did happen as reported. Can you find out if this happened? — Gullible, Niland

We don't think it happened.

Don Haskell, who worked in the mine at Plaster City from 1954 until 1984, doesn't think so, either. He never heard the story. If three men lost fingers in the plant, Haskell said, "They would still be talking about it.

Larry Nolte, owner of the Lazy Lizard Saloon in Ocotillo, started work at the plant in the mid-1970s and still works there. He never heard about any amputated fingers.

That also goes for Bruce Fauble, still working in the plant after 34 years, and his wife, Rene, who started to work at Plaster City in the 1970s.

"I don't think it happened," Mrs. Fauble said.

We don't think it happened.

FLOATING QUESADILLAS — Two weeks ago I bought an electric deep fryer at Costco. After reading your letters about quesadillas, I set the deep fryer on 320 degrees and whipped up a batch of quesadillas as you advised.

I put them in for two minutes. They floated so I turned them over for two more minutes. They came out perfectly. My wife and kids swore I went to El Centro to get them.

I am trying new things with the deep fryer. It's amazing how easy it is to cook with it … four minutes for a perfect dinner. — Cooking, Holtville

We have to know, did you make your quesadillas from our instructions or from the Seeley cook's suggestion to use pre-made raw tortillas and pre-grated cheese.

It doesn't matter. Here's another idea from the man in Seeley for using uncooked tortillas. They come 30 to a package.

Fill them with cooked fruit, pinch the sides as you would seal a quesadilla. Toss them in the hot oil. When they're puffy and golden, remove, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Eat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some people would call that an empanada.

Or you can roll the fruit up in a regular tortilla, deep fry it and you have a fruit burrito or a fruit chimichanga.

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