By Chris Furguson
As difficult as it is to believe, 2009 is almost over. So, we at the I.V. Weekly, Calexico Chronicle and Holtville Tribune would like to present the top stories of 2009.
– Brawley begins to feel the effects of the Christmas Eve 2008 closing of the Del Norte Chevrolet dealership in the southern part of the city. Del Norte had been involved in lawsuits with General Motors and the City of Brawley.
– Issac Acuña, a 19 year old from Calexico, joined Mexico’s Club America second division soccer team with the hopes of joining the team’s main division soon.
– The Holtville City Council asks the County to provide policing for the city after a pre-holiday meeting. The deal would be finalized in December of 2009.
– The Business Showcase brought over a thousand people to IV Expo to look at what businesses are in the Valley, and to grab all the freebies they could!
– A visiting film documentary crew showcased the visiting of three professional skateboarders at Brawley’s Blake Davis Skate Park.
– Due to internet leaks, country music star Phil Vassar was discovered to be the main event act at the 2009 California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta.
– Brawley hires federal lobbyist David Turch & Associates and negotiates a $120,000 per year contract to negotiate for the city.
– The Serie Del Caribe (Caribbean World Series) ends in Mexicali with Venezuela defeating Mexico in the final games. Financial impact in the Imperial Valley is deemed negligible.
– Thousands lined Holtville’s Fifth Avenue to watch the annual Holtville Carrot Festival Parade. Queen…
– The Calexico City Council added a ballot measure that would have increased the local sales tax rate. While the measure would have generated $2 million a year for 20 years, the measure was defeated in the Mid-May state elections.
– The Brawley Wildcats dominate the CIF-San Diego Division IV wrestling championships, with 11 wrestlers in the finals with eight champions. All of Brawley’s wrestlers qualified for the CIF Masters tournament.
– Country music star Phil Vassar headlines the 2009 California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta. Along with Vassar, several musical tribute acts, a brand new “Guns & Hoses” Fire & Police department competition, three new floor acts and a brand new sea lion show highlight the many changes at the fair.
Among the tribute acts include ones to Johnny Cash, Depeche Mode, the Beatles, KISS, 80’s hair metal and others.
– Brawley organizes a graffiti Paint-out day, with several volunteers including students at the Ooh-La-La Dance & Studios and several Brawley dignitaries.
– Holtville High School’s band director Lendal Macon announced his retirement in June. Macon had been a band director for 33 years.
– Brawley’s Cattle Call Arena plays host to the third annual Cesar Chavez Celebration. Unlike previous years, this year’s fiesta featured more local bands instead of major Mexican acts. Acts featured include the “Sons of Zap,” “Tierras Del Norte,” and “Los Legends”
Other attractions include boxing matches, performances by local dance troupes and a performance by a local Zumba fitness class.
– U.S. Fitness celebrated their 15th anniversary with a Brawley Chamber of Commerce Mixer.
– Holtville’s Schwingfest brought people from all over the southwest for the annual Swiss event.
-Work started on Brawley’s Plaza Park area to improve traffic and parking for local business.
– The City of Holtville began steps to create a skate park in the city, but no action has been taken since April.
– A nine-year old Imperial County resident was confirmed as having the first case of H1N1 “swine” flu.
– Brawley began the process to create a transfer station for Imperial Transit. The station will be located at the vacant lot across the street from the Rock Café and the Brawley Public Library.
– Professional Bull Riding returned to the Cattle Call Arena for the third consecutive year. Brazilian Robson Aragao won the weekend’s event.
– After a school in Brawley was closed after a child was discovered with the H1N1 virus, the Imperial County Health Department reopened the school under the instructions of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
– Brawley’s budget for Fiscal Year 2009-2010 was set at a “bare bones” amount of $53.37 million.
– The Chamber of Commerce in Brawley held their annual Sweet Onion Festival, featuring a Polynesian dance troupe, Hawaiian music and an onion ring cooking contest. The winners were from the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, who took home $300.
– The 2009 Calexico Mariachi Festival was dubbed a huge success by attendees. The Festival was set up by a week’s worth of events, including a mixer and several performances.
– Parking meters in Downtown Calexico were turned off over the summer, thanks to a decision by the City Council.
– Over $50,000 were handed out in at the Brawley Senior Awards night, including more than $20,000 awarded to Valedictorian Richard Wood.
– Thanks to clever action, the Calexico Swimming Pool would remain open during the summer.
– Robert Rubio and Adriana Lopez took home first place in the second annual “Dancing With The Stars” local charity event at the Barbara Worth Country Club.
– Fundraising began for the Brawley Veterans Monument, located slightly west of the Brawley Chamber Offices.
– Francis Frye, of Frye Chapel & Mortuary, was named the 2009 Branding Iron Award Winner in Brawley. Frye has run the local Mortuary since the 1950s.
– Thousands of Imperial Valley students go through the Graduation ceremonies at their respective High Schools.
– After an attempted vote to change rules on the firing of City Managers in Calexico, City Manager Ralph Velez resigns from his post. City Finance Manager Judy Hashem became the interim City Manager.
– Holtville’s City Council accepted an award for their city plan from the Southern California Association of Governments.
– Calexico decided to close the Cultural Arts Center, due to budget constraints.
– The search for the Valley’s best enchiladas was won by Jalisco’s in El Centro.
– Issues about the residency of Richard Horn in Brawley were brought up at a special meeting. Horn was eventually allowed to move to the city after a special October hearing.
– David Ouzan succeeds Louis Fuentes as Mayor of Calexico.
– Tens of thousands surrounded Imperial Valley College and Calipatria as both the Calipatria Chamber of commerce and the other groups held their annual Fourth of July fireworks shows.
-Over 125,000 people showed up for the 40th annual Comic-Con in San Diego.
– Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was buried in a special ceremony.
– A bush fire near Holtville was started by an errant spark from a local welding shop.
– 2008 Cattle Call Queen Stacia Miller headed out to basic training in South Carolina.
– Returning high school kids begin to practice for Football, Volleyball and other sports prior to the opening of the school year.
– Local chambers of commerce welcome returning and new teachers at breakfast and lunch events.
– Parents in Calexico want a new high school.
– The Brawley City Council chose to lower water rates and raise wastewater rates a minimum amount to qualify for a $10 million loan forgiveness grant. The council had a meeting a week prior to the decision that had to be postponed due to overflowing conditions.
– The Brawley Wildcats go 2-1 in September while Calexico goes 3-0 in the fall month.
– A pair of criminals were arrested in Holtville due to an alleged check forging scheme.
– Over 400 homeowners were helped at a fair in Southwest High School.
– The City of Brawley sought donations from local businesses for an “In God We Trust” sign in the council chambers. Brawley follows several local governments who have agreed to have the motto in their chamber.
– The Imperial Valley Weekly – Calexico Chronicle celebrates their 105th anniversary in business.
– The same judge who refused to allow Richard Horn to move to a location near Brawley changed his mind and permitted Horn to move to the new home. Horn had been living in motels since he was kicked out of a place in Seeley.
– Imperial and Holtville win their first football games of the season. Holtville would only win the one game while Imperial would win two more in their first season in the Imperial Valley League.
– Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan gave a speech in Calexico about the State of his State.
– Brawley Chamber CEO Nicole Gilles was fired from her job by the Chamber Board of Directors.
– The 2009 Cattle Call Queen is Southwest Junior Kaylynn Sampson.
– The Holtville City Council approved a plan for a new Public Safety Building.
– Victor Carrillo resigned from the County Board of Supervisors in order to become the Calexico City Manager.
– Louis Fuentes resigns from the Calexico City council when he is appointed as to the County Board of Supervisors by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
– Sam Couchman and Miguel Miranda wound up big winners in the Brawley City Council race.
– Brawley’s Wildcats trounced Calexico’s Bulldogs 55-0. Calexico would wind up with a 1-8 record overall.
– There are few problems throughout the week leading up to the Cattle Call Parade and Rodeo in early November.
– The Central Spartans defeat the Brawley Wildcats in a close game. The 23-18 game was held at Cal Jones Field in El Centro.
– Westmorland holds its fifth annual Honey Festival at the City Park.
– Black Friday at the Imperial Valley Mall sees thousands of customers at the midnight openings.
– Ryan Kelley became the next mayor of the City of Brawley at a special ceremony. Don Campbell became the new Mayor Pro Tem while Steve Vasquez and John Benson were replaced by Sam Couchman and Miguel Miranda.
– Thousands of kids were eager to meet Santa at several appearances in Brawley, Calexico, Imperial and El Centro.
– Calexico High School tops the nation in AP Spanish Language tests.
See you next year!