>> 50 Years Ago — EL CENTRO — Selection of a jury began today in the long-awaited and many-times delayed trial of the owner of the historic Barbara Worth Hotel vs. five insurance companies.
Joseph E. Komenda, who filed suit almost a year ago, is seeking $569,341.03 — plus interest — he alleges the companies owe because of damage to the hotel.
The trial is being held before Judge George R. Kirk in Superior Court Two. Jury selection is expected to take several days.
The hotel, once a famous El Centro landmark, was destroyed in a spectacular blaze the night of Jan. 21, 1962.
>> 40 Years Ago — MEXICALI — American Consul General Margaret Fagan today reaffirmed the federal government’s assurance that the upcoming closing of the United States consulate in Mexicali will in no way mean a discontinuance of service to the Mexican people and visiting American tourists in the Baja California capital.
Closure of the post that has supplied diplomatic services locally for the past 54 years was made public last March by a spokesman for the Mexican Affairs Desk in Washington, D.C. The reason for the shutdown was listed as “a budgetary move.”
>> 30 Years Ago — “The Imperial Valley has extraordinary potential for the use of wind power,” solar and wind energy consultant Horace McCracken told Brawley Rotary Club members .
McCracken, invited to speak to the Rotarians by Brawley entomologist Clyde Shields, is a former instructor at San Diego State University and a nationally known figure in solar energy. McCracken spoke to the members on several renewable energy sources but was particularly enthused on the Valley’s potential for wind use.
“The prospects now are in a windy place like In-Ko-Pah, Wind power is cheaper than fossil powered plants and certainly cheaper than nuclear power,” McCracken said.
McCracken told members the Valley is surrounded by a “ribbon of air with the potential to put out power equivalent to half the potential of Niagara Falls.”
>> 20 Years Ago — A Glendale man charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of a fishing companion near Niland last month was arraigned at the Municipal Court Jail Division.
Brawley municipal Court Judge Joseph Zimmerman scheduled a preliminary hearing for Samuel Ketelekyan, 41, court records show. He remains in the county jail with bail set at $250,000.