50 years ago — CALIPATRIA — Formal denial of the Rural Development Corp. plan to furnish afternoon supervision of kindergarten pupils at Fremont School here was voted Wednesday night by the Calipatria Unified School District Board of Trustees.

The action came following a special executive session by board members at which they discussed an answer drafted by County Counsel James H. Harmon.

It took the board a total of 15 minutes to discuss the matter and then vote on it in open session. Board members, on advice of Harmon, refused to discuss the RDC proposal at their regular meeting Monday.

The RDC proposal, made Monday in a letter sent board members and district Superintendent James Stevens, was that it would provide supervised recreation and daycare between the noon hour and the time of the regular school bus runs about 3:30 p.m. for the kindergartens.

Acceptance of the proposal by the board might have had the effect of canceling a lawsuit filed Jan. 14 by attorneys of California Rural Legal Assistance.

This suit, filed in El Centro Superior Court seeks to force the board to provide noon busing for kindergarten pupils or, in the alternative, furnish supervised recreation for them in the afternoon.

The letter, setting out reasons for denial of the RDC plans, was delivered to John Denvir, CRLA attorney, today.

It sets out two specific reasons for the denial:

1. “The board believes that keeping kindergarten students on campus for extended periods in the afternoon would be detrimental to the pupils’ welfare.

2. “The board feels the proposed recreation and daycare program would interfere with the district’s educational program.”

The Legislature requires that no kindergarten pupil shall be kept in school in any one day for more than four hours, exclusive of recesses.

At present, according to Denvier, several families in Calipatria are paying for babysitting services for kindergarten age children during the afternoon hours.


40 years ago — A tape-recorded radar tracking of a small aircraft led searchers Tuesday afternoon to the wreckage of a twin-engine Cessna 421, nearly 31 hours after it had taken off from Brawley for a 20-minute flight to Palomar.

The widely scattered and fragmented wreckage was located six miles southeast of Lake Wohlford, near Escondido. Tuesday night, the San Diego County Coroner’s Office positively identified the body of its single occupant as pilot Floyd Kershner, 33, of Brawley.

The plane, owned by Brawley grower Stephen Elmore, had been the focus of a widespread search by the Civil Air Patrol after it was determined to be missing Monday afternoon.

Kershner had taken off from the Brawley Municipal Airport about 8 a.m. Monday for a short flight to Palomar for a routine maintenance check.

CAP Major Arlyn Van Atta said today the plane was located after officials had been able to detect a radar recording of a small aircraft flying from the Valley to the San Diego area. The radar “blip” disappeared about 1 1/2-miles from where the wreck was located.

Van Atta said information was passed to CAP crews in the air and about 1 p.m. pilots Jim Squire and Don Ackley spotted the site. The Civil Air Patrol official said at the height of the search there were 26 aircraft involved as well as an Air Force C-130 from March Air Force Base. The effort was commanded by Van Atta’s wife, Virginia, who is also a CAP major.

All of the CAP pilots and crews, all civilians are volunteers.

Van Atta stated it appeared the plane “went almost straight in.”

The cause of the crash is undetermined. It will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National transportation Safety Board.


30 years ago — A map drawn 10 years ago is casting doubt on the future of a truck stop at Highway 111 and Evan Hewes Highway that the Board of Supervisors approved in December despite the opposition of nearby residents.

On Tuesday, supervisors are scheduled to decide whether to follow the minutes of a 1980 meeting, which designated the entire area for light industrial use, or to follow a map drawn at about the same time, which designates a portion of the property for light commercial use, said Jurg Heuberger, county planning director.

Area residents who don’t want a truck stop nearby say the map prohibits development of the project.

Nothing can be seen on the property now, but the developer, Amado Sanchez, said underground fuel tanks have already been installed and he will be ready to open the truck stop in April.

Ernie Goff, one of the residents opposing the truck stop, said he has already gathered 26 signatures and still has three petitions out, but he said the residents’ case is “hopeless.”

“I doubt if we’re going to be able to stop them,” said Goff, whose group will be at Tuesday’s hearing to try and persuade the Board of Supervisors to follow the map and maintain the light commercial zoning for a portion of the property. The group has tried unsuccessfully to stop permits for the truck stop in the past.

“We don’t want trucks here at all hours of the night,” Goff said.

The area, which used to be agricultural land was zoned for light industrial use in 1973. In 1980 the board voted to make a portion of it light commercial, Heuberger said.

Since the map, drawn by an unknown cartographer, does not agree with the legal wording of the board’s minutes, the group is hoping to use this opportunity to make a last-ditch effort to stop the truck stop.


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