50 years ago — With a well-thumbed pocket dictionary, Luis Makio Padron, 18, foreign exchange student from Argentina, is attempting to communicate.
He is living with the Gene H. Kyle family, of Brawley, this year. He and his foster brother, Gene Jr., are seniors at Brawley Union High School.
Luis knows almost enough words, but fitting them into conversation is not easy. And describing his life in Argentina is not easy either.
It’s winter now in La Plata which means the temperature in the coastal city of 600,000 may drop to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, which will come in mid-January, the thermometer may soar to 74 degrees.
Except you can’t prove it by Luis. Nobody translates temperatures into Fahrenheit in Argentina. It’s all measured in centigrade.
No matter how you call it, temperatures here in September are halfway to boiling and that’s “too hot,” in Luis words.
The inflection of his voice and his smile change the words to “very” not “too”; but never mind, it is too hot.
Luis working out with the Brawley Wildcats football team and reportedly has a very good chance of seeing action on the field. His kicking skill, learned on the soccer fields of La Plata, could be useful to the BUHS team this season.
Luis is the middle son of Mr. and Mrs. Jose Padron. The elder Padron is the owner of a bakery which produces bread for one of the military bases in the vicinity of La Plata.
40 years ago — The El Centro Building Department and the owners of the San Carlos Hotel, 144 S. Fifth St., have applied for a $287,450 grant to renovate the facility.
According to Barbara Kaiser, city redevelopment specialist, the proposed grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development would “redo the entire inside” of the structure, along with giving the exterior of the old building a facelift.
Ms. Kaiser was optimistic about getting approval for the improvements, which would come in the form of a long-term loan to be paid off at 3 percent interest.
“It is looking very good so far,” she said. “We have had good indications of dealing with the HUD people so far.”
She said word should be received in about a month on whether the application has been approved.
Under the terms of the grant, the owners of the San Carlos Hotel, Gokalbhai said Savitaben Bhakta, would have to rent out half of the 18-renovated units to tenants qualifying for low-income subsidies.
“They will be keeping the rents low enough so that there will be no problem,” said Ms. Kaiser.
The funding would help create 16-studio apartments and two one-bedroom units on the second and third floors of the building.
In addition to renovating the tenants units, the funding would provide for upgrading the owners three-bedroom unit and the hotel lobby on the ground floor.
The outside of the structure would receive new stucco, new windows and the fire escapes and the sign would be improved.
30 years ago — Louise Willey, Al Smith, Ed Rutherford and Dick Smith will share the spotlight as grand marshals for the 33rd annual Brawley Cattle Call parade down Brawley’s Main Street Nov. 1.
The four were members of the original rodeo committee that started Brawley’s annual salute to the beef industry.
Cattle Call started in 1957 when a calf-roping exhibition was held on the Brawley Union High School football field. Several thousand spectators attended.
The idea of enlarging the calf-roping event into a rodeo was discussed at several informal meetings between Willey, the Smiths and Rutherford.
Of primary importance was a location to stage a rodeo and a likely site was the river bottom, at the southwest edge of Brawley.
A rodeo committee was formed and the 50-acre parcel of land near the New River was acquired. Fundraising events were staged to raise the $55,000 necessary to construct an arena.
Plans were finalized in August 1958 and a whirlwind of activity started. The committee wanted to put on the first rodeo on October.
Willey said the rodeo committee “never even considered the possibility of failure.” The brush, trash and salt cedar trees covering the land were cleared away and the area was leveled.
Dick Smith said workers from Rutherford’s feed-yard built the chutes, which were moved to the river bottom and erected. The grandstand, corrals and fences were constructed in time for the first rodeo.