From the daily archives: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wind Zero team continues to see success with the plan of building their project in the Imperial County by creating more partnerships within the Imperial and San Diego County region during the 2010 year!
Their proposed State-of-The-Art Law Enforcement/Public Safety and Military training facility coupled with what would be the largest grand prix track course in North America earned the endorsement of the Imperial Valley Drug Coalition-Law Enforcement Coordination Center Board. It  is made up of multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA and Border Patrol
“We are working diligently with the County of Imperial’s Planning Department staff and are finalizing the Environmental Impact Review portion of our project–nothing is more important than this final review in order to move forward and present our project to the Board of Supervisors sometime in early 2010.”
Two other major endorsements that played an important role in Wind Zero’s success in 2009 was partnering up with the Imperial County Film Commission. The commission recently worked with Wind Zero on their property to film a music video for the New York based Indie Rock Group “Black Gold”. The second endorsement came from the Imperial Valley Regional Occupation Program’s Project Serve VETS. This organization helps meet the vocational training and employment needs of local veterans partnered with Wind Zero.
The Wind Zero Group, Inc. was founded by former US Navy SEALs in 2006 and is in the process of developing their State-of-the-Art facility and motor sports racetrack east of San Diego, CA in Imperial County.  The founders recognized that Southern California had a shortage of training and recreational areas forcing most agencies and racing enthusiasts out of the region and often, out of state.
The following government agencies and organizations have formally endorsed and support the Wind Zero Project:
Imperial Valley Drug Coalition-Law Enforcement Coordination Center Executive Board
Imperial Valley College (POST Training, Imperial County Police Academy )
Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program—Project SERVE VETS
Imperial Police Department
Calexico Police Department
Brawley Police Department
El Centro Police Department
Calipatria Police Department
Calexico Fire Department
Holtville Fire Department
National Border Patrol Council Local 2554
Imperial County Film Commission
Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero.


Luke Phillips
Holtville’s new sheriff’s deputies took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community  at the last meeting of the Holtville City Council, Jan. 11,  and chatted with the many residents in attendance.
Imperial County Sheriff, and Holtville’s new police chief, Ray Loera took a moment to address the council and introduce the new deputies.
“This is certainly a great and exciting time for the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office,” Loera said. “Over the last three years that I’ve been sheriff, we’ve been involved in Holtville on a limited basis. We’ve come to understand the community much better than when we began. And I think, on the other side, the community has come to know what kind of service the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office can provide. What I thought was the thing that showed what we can really do was when we actually put two of our deputies into the field. They were certainly very good representatives of the Sheriff’s office and what outstanding law enforcement it can provide and does provide.”
“We are really looking forward to working with you,” Loera continued. “This has been at the very least an interesting process, which I’m sure your city manager can attest to. But it’s done and we’re really looking forward to providing service to the city of Holtville.”
The sheriff took a few minutes to introduce new Holtville law enforcement officers Sergeant Clint Erro, Senior Deputy Justin Bostic, and Deputies Robert Benevidez, Emanuel Ramirez, Sal Quezada and Gordon Johnson.
“This is really a good combination of experience,” Loera said. “I think that we have a lot of enthusiasm. Every one of these deputies is really enthused about coming here. I didn’t force anybody to come here. I think they’re enjoying their assignment. I think we’re going to have a very good match here.”
After the sheriff finished his introductions, Holtville mayor Colleen Ludwig offered a word of thanks:
“I’d like to thank you so much sir. We’re grateful for all of the things that you’ve done to help us,” Ludwig said. “I know that between you and Laura Fischer, our city manager, you’ve negotiated a sound contract. We are excited about having our public safety here with the Sheriff’s division and all of our officers.”
Imperial County Board of Supervisors member Wally Leimgruber attended the meeting and shared his thoughts on the transition of law enforcement in Holtville:
“The most important thing is that we now have another substation here in the east portion of Imperial County,” Leimgruber said. “This county continues to grow. All of us are aware of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, with over a million visitors a year, and the local sheriff’s department is tasked with the enforcement in that area. Having the substation here in the community of Holtville we will be able to respond in a timely manner. All it does is enhance our law enforcement in that area. With the Sheriff’s Department involved now in this community I look forward to the working relationship with this council and the Sheriff’s Department for many years to come.”
Holtville City Manager Laura Fischer also took a moment to comment on the transition:
“We, as staff, are very excited to have the deputies here. I think it’s really important that we have a contract where we have  full time law enforcement in Holtville. That’s been something that our community really demanded of us. And I think that the council has really put the effort in and has supported a contract that does do that. So again, thank you. The transition is complete. We now have five deputies and a sergeant working in town.”
Fischer also said that vehicles utilized by the Sheriff’s Department are going to be repainted soon to represent the city of Holtville as well as the Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re looking for a real exciting opportunity and a real good blend of the two – the city and the Sheriff’s Department,” Fischer said.
Holtville City Council member David Bradshaw congratulated Sheriff Loera on a smooth transition:
“I thought the transition went smooth,” Bradshaw said. “Smoother than we anticipated. It doesn’t seem like much, but there is a lot to transition in two days, so thanks for the effort there.”
Former Holtville Mayor and city council member Bianca Padilla also commented on the transition:
“It was a long and difficult change for us, making the decision in the last couple of years, but I look forward to a long and bright future working together,” Padilla said. “So far, everything’s been great. It sounds like, from the community, great responses. You guys look really great out there.”
Sheriff Loera wrapped up the introduction with one final comment:
“We are certainly here to be of service to the community,” he said. “They (the deputies) are assigned to this city. They’re not going anywhere unless they’re promoted or there’s some extenuating circumstance. These will be your new deputies.”


By Luke Phillips

Holtville High School’s Yellow Ribbon Club – a group that crusades to prevent suicide – will soon be working to prevent hunger in Holtville.

The club will host a spaghetti dinner at the Holtville Women’s Club on Thursday, Jan. 28, to raise funds to cover the cost of printing Yellow Ribbon pamphlets and provide lunch for club meetings.

The Women’s Club will be preparing the dinner which will include spaghetti, salad and garlic bread for $6 a plate. The Pasta was donated by Jeff Plourd of El Toro Exports, the salad was donated by MVG farms and desserts will be provided and sold by the Yellow Ribbon Club. Club members will also be on hand to serve the dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Yellow Ribbon is a worldwide club designed to raise awareness of the problems of youth suicide, depression, and stress. It also works to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and empower young people with the means to ask for help. The group is active in all 50 states as well as 47 other countries and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and the Today Show.

The Holtville Women’s Club is located at 219 E. 6th St.  A drive-through will be set up to serve the spaghetti dinners.


By Luke Phillips

More than 100 businesses will take the floor at The Prebble Building at the IV Expo this Thursday for the 12 Annual Imperial Valley Business Showcase.

For a $5 entrance fee, attendees will be able to peruse isle after isle of businesses offering everything from coffee to printing.

Imperial Valley Joint Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event, and CEO Cathy Kennerson says she’s looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Kennerson said. “I’m looking forward to it and I encourage everyone to come.

Kennerson says that the event has been going strong for 12 years and has helped to highlight the Imperial Valley business community.

“It does kind of expose businesses to new people who may not have known they were down here,” said Kennerson. “We’re here to boost local businesses and to encourage people from the valley to use local businesses. It really helps the local economy and keeps everybody’s name up at the top.”

Kennerson also says a lot of business to business networking happens at the showcase.

“Business owners have an opportunity to meet with other business owners,” Kennerson said. “So if they have a need for insurance or a need for printing, it kind of works both ways. People get to see what’s out there that they might not have been aware of. There’s definitely a lot of business to business that goes on.”

The business showcase takes place this Thursday, Jan. 14., from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the IV Expo’s Prebble Building, and will feature cash drawings, taste samples from restaurant vendors and much more. Entrance fee is $5. For more information contact the Brawley Chamber of Commerce at (760) 344-3160.


Chris Furguson
The Brawley Police Department is still on the lookou for a parolee accused of stabbing a 49-year old man on Stanley Place, according to Cmdr. Brett Houser.
Pioneers Memorial Hospital reported the stabbing to the Police Department on January 7, 2010.  The victim, who Houser did not identify, drove himself to the hospital and is expected to fully recover from emergency surgery.
The victim was stabbed once in the stomach and two or three slash marks around his neck.
The victim identified his attacker as Anthony Donato Cortez, a 32-year old resident of Brawley.  Cortez, who is on parole for statutory rape, fled the scene after the stabbing.
Cortez allegedly approached the victim on the 600 block of Stanley Place when a dispute over money or property led to the stabbing.
Brawley Police believe that Cortez, a long-time resident of Brawley, is still in the city.  Residents are advised to remain cautious.
People with information on the whereabouts of Cortez are advised to contact the Brawley Police Department at (760) 344-2111.

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