50 years ago — Did you know the old Barbara Worth Hotel, now a burned out shell, was the birthplace of a religious denomination?

Among the many noted people who registered at the plush hotel was Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind.

Holmes had come to the hotel to find the solitude in which to reach a decision. His teachings had touched many lives; Science of Mind now had many adherents — from practically all religious denominations. Some of them were clamoring for the founding of a new denomination based on Holmes’ teachings. But Holmes thought the world had enough religious denominations.

As pressure to form the new denomination mounted, Holmes decided to withdraw from his adherents — including his “angels” — the group of dedicated women who helped him in his work. This decision brought him to El Centro and Barbara Worth Hotel.

And so it was the Barbara Worth Hotel became the cradle of a new religion — for after much meditation, Holmes decided to found the Church of Religious Science. Ironically, El Centro would not have a CRS for many years; the local church was founded less than three years ago.


40 years ago — David Dabel’s parents are completely honest with him.

One might say that this is as it should be, but perhaps there might be some parents who would not discuss their child’s disease with him — he has muscular dystrophy.

Recently, David was designated Poster Child for Imperial County of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He lives with his parents, Larry and Joan Powell, and his sister Teri, 11, on the Naval Air Facility.

Larry is a jet engine mechanic and had been in the Navy for 12 years, traveling on a ship to such far flung outposts of the world as Singapore, Kenya and Sicily.

As for Mrs. Powell, she is kept busy with her 13-year-old son, peppy little Teri and the housework.

“David is my son from my first marriage,” she explained. “My first husband was also in the service and was killed when David was just 1 year old. Larry and I have been married nine years today.”

In the beginning, she had not noticed that anything was wrong with her son. Muscular Dystrophy is an inherited disease which causes an increasing weakness in muscular tissues, and David had the Duchenne variety which affects only boys. No obvious symptoms can be discovered for the first year of life. Then the child will have difficulties getting up after a fall, and will not be able to raise his knees.

As the years go on, his symptoms become more and more severe, and he is more prone to develop pulmonary infections. Physical therapy, exercises and in some cases surgery may relieve the symptoms.

“I noticed it when he was 2,” Mrs. Powell said. “Ever since then, I’ve been bugging the doctors about it. Now, we take him to the Children’s Hospital in San Diego for treatment every three months.”


30 years ago — The local California Highway Patrol office made 14 drunken driving arrests over the weekend, including a felony drunken driving arrest following a traffic collision, according to Shawn Angulo, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol.

Three other of the alcohol-related arrests occurred after traffic collisions said Angulo.

“With the lower (legal blood alcohol level) and the use of the (breathalyzer) device, the drunk driving arrests are up,” said Angulo.

Since July 1, local Highway Patrol officers have been using a hand-held device during traffic stops to help determine the level alcohol in a person’s system. In January, the legal blood-alcohol level for a driver was lowered from 0.10 to 0.08, in accordance with a new state law.


20 years ago— It started Thursday morning as a search for a reported 60 illegal immigrants lost in the mountains of western Imperial County. It ended Saturday following a search for one 54-year old man who reportedly became separated from his son while crossing the desert.

During the search, U.S. Border Patrol agents found 44 immigrants Thursday evening in Davies Valley in the western Imperial County mountains.

Robert Nelson, a Border Patrol supervisory agent, said agents received a report at 9:30 a.m. Thursday that a group of up to 60 immigrants was lost in the desert.

Agents launched a search on foot and by aircraft and by Thursday evening had found the 44 immigrants in Davies Valley. But that group was not tied to the initial reports that morning of a group missing, Nelson said.

Nelson said Border Patrol agents “stumbled” on the 44 immigrants while scouring a 20-mile stretch of the desert in search of the other group.

On Friday morning, the search for that group became a search for one 54-year-old immigrant. At that point, there were no other people thought to be lost in the desert, Nelson said. Mexican authorities had found the man’s 17-year-old son in the desert on the Mexican side of the border and Friday introduced the boy to Border Patrol agents.

The youth told agents where he and his father had been walking and what kind of sandals his father had been wearing. Based on the boy’s information, the search for the man focused on Skull Valley — a section of the Imperial Valley desert surrounded by mountains except for the section right along the Mexican border.

Footprints from illegal immigrants who use that area as a corridor can be spotted in the soft sand. Clothing can be found in the area, along with water jugs, lighters and other items those who cross through the area may carry.

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