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Stories of the Past: January 17, 2009 >> 50 years ago ? Six masked white men pounded and cut a Mexican contract laborer near Brawley Sunday night in an unsuccessful robbery attempt.

January 17, 2009

A sheriff’s deputy said Wednesday the felony had been reported Tuesday. Manuel Garcia Soliano was walking on Imperial Avenue north of the city when a car pulled up and the thugs got out. They beat Soliano and kicked him, said Deputy Rudy Cardenas, and in the melee cut his finger with a knife. The robbers searched the victim’s pockets but found nothing, Cardenas said.

>> 40 years ago ? Four juveniles, ages 16 and 17, were arrested by El Centro police shortly before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when they were caught allegedly smoking marijuana in an attic of the Sunday school building of the Episcopal Church, Sixth and Orange streets.

A fifth juvenile slipped out of police handcuffs and ran off but was arrested later in the evening.

Fr. Bartolome Alorda, pastor of the church, told police he heard voices from above while working in the Sunday school building.

What the voices were saying were not in keeping with proper theology, so he called police.

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Lawmen clambered into the 12-by-8-foot attic, which is designed to hold air conditioning equipment, and found the five boys, allegedly puffing hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes.

>> 30 years ago ? Baja California Gov. Roberto de la Madrid has privately vowed to withdraw his delegation to the Commission for the Californias unless Lt. Gov. Mike Curb is appointed chairman, according to published reports.

De la Madrid, who could not be reached for comment Friday, reportedly told Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. of his intention during a phone conversation last month, according to a top Curb aide. De la Madrid lodged his protest after apparently hearing that former Lt. Gov. Mervyn M. Dymally had asked Brown to appoint him to a vacancy on the commission, according to Curb’s aide, Al Zapata.

>> 20 years ago ? The Chamber of Commerce has passed a resolution opposing a Washington lobbying group’s proposal to institute a $2 user fee for each person crossing the international border into the United States.

The resolution was passed Thursday during a chamber meeting at the De Anza Hotel. Fred Knechel, Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the user fees would complicate the inspection process and create delays as border crossers struggle to come up with the right change.

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