From the daily archives: Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Rib Cook-Off is a cooking competition in which 100% of the proceeds
go to benefiting local valley sports and other non-profit clubs. It is a family fun event featuring the Blue Angles, bands, Dancing contests, pie contest, kettle corn, Old-Fashond Ice Cream,lemonade, soft Drinks, many many side dishes, Activities for the kids, and of coarse Ribs! it starts at 10:00am and goes UNTIL ALL THE RIBS ARE GONE ! We will see you there!


alli comparison

Do you remember hearing about the FDA granting approval to Alli, the weight loss drug? I remember seeing tons and tons of commercials and so many people were excited because there was finally a weight loss drug that had federal approval.

But earlier this week the FDA warned people that a counterfeit version of Alli was out there and that it could be really dangerous.

There are a couple key differences that you can look for in the products to spot if you may have a fake:
If your expiration date has a month, day and year, it’s fake. Real Alli only uses month and year.
If your bottle has a plain foil safety seal it’s a fake. Real Alli has the words “SEALED for YOUR PROTECTION” printed on it.

The fake bottle is also taller and wider than the authentic one.

So far it looks like the fake Alli has only been sold online, not in retail stores, but if you use Alli, you want to make sure to check your bottle closely.

Have you ever used weight loss products to help you slim down? Were they ever recalled?


Con Man Found Guilty of Operating $62 Million Ponzi Scheme That Targeted Spanish-Speaking Investors

LOS ANGELES—A Huntington Park man who preyed on Spanish-speaking investors with promises of hefty returns in the real estate bubble has been found guilty of federal charges for bilking more than 2,000 victims out of more than $62 million. Milton Retana, 46, was convicted yesterday by a federal jury of six counts of mail fraud and one count of making false statements to government agents who were investigating the case.

Following a week-long trial in United States District Court, jurors deliberated for less than an hour on Tuesday before convicting Retana of charges that carry a potential penalty of 125 years in federal prison. Dozens of victims were in court to hear the announcement of the guilty verdicts.

Retana began soliciting investors in 2006 through his company, Best Diamond Funding, by telling them that their money would be used to buy and sell real estate. Best Diamond Funding solicited money through advertisements in Spanish-language magazines, on the Internet, and during weekly investment seminars at locations across Los Angeles. The investment seminars often had as many as 300 potential investors and incorporated religious messages. Retana guaranteed returns as high as 84 percent each year, claiming that he would purchase properties in bulk at below-market prices and immediately sell them for a profit. However, records obtained by federal investigators showed that Retana used only a tiny fraction of the victims’ money to purchase real estate and that his company was actually losing money.

During the trial, several victims testified that they mortgaged their homes and drained their retirement accounts because they believed Retana’s promises that their investments would be safe. The victims who testified at trial were largely from working-class families in East Los Angeles, and they included a stone mason, a long-haul truck driver, and a roofer who was also a pastor at his local church.

Retana’s scheme was almost uncovered in the summer of 2008, when the California Department of Real Estate audited his company. But Retana stymied that investigation by ordering his employees to hide all of the investor files at the back of his wife’s religious bookstore, La Libreria Del Exito Mundial. His scheme was disrupted in October 2008, when federal agents from the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants on the offices of Best Diamond Funding and the bookstore. During those searches, agents found $800,000 in cash stashed in Retana’s desk, as well as another $3.2 million in cash hidden in the back of the bookstore. The FBI also seized another $8 million from Retana’s bank accounts.

Soon after the execution of the federal search warrants, agents interviewed Retana, who lied about how much money he had received from the investors and claimed that he could pay all of them back. Retana was later secretly recorded telling a Best Diamond employee not to tell the government how much money Best Diamond had received from the investors.

Retana is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner on April 26.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


SunCatcher power system unveiled at solar test facility

Beginning in 2010, Tessera Solar will break ground on two of the world’s largest solar plants – both in California. And, before the end of 2010, will be producing grid-quality solar power, and based on the unique modular design of the SunCatcher™, continue to add daily, over the next several years, to the production of new solar power to the grid. Working with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, our Imperial Valley project and our Calico project will produce up to a combined 1,750MW of clean, renewable energy. Both projects will include up to 70,000 SunCatcher™ units…Solar energy at a scale the world has never seen.

Tags: energy management

Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories’ National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). Called SunCatchers, the new dishes have a refined design that will be used in commercial-scale deployments of the units beginning in 2010.

“The four new dishes are the next-generation model of the original SunCatcher system. Six first-generation SunCatchers built over the past several years at the NSTTF have been producing up to 150KW [kilowatts] of grid-ready electrical power during the day,” says Chuck Andraka, the lead Sandia project engineer. “Every part of the new system has been upgraded to allow for a high rate of production and cost reduction.”

Sandia’s concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) team has been working closely with SES over the past five years to improve the system design and operation.

The modular CSP SunCatcher uses precision mirrors attached to a parabolic dish to focus the sun’s rays onto a receiver, which transmits the heat to a Stirling engine. The engine is a sealed system filled with hydrogen. As the gas heats and cools, its pressure rises and falls. The change in pressure drives the piston inside the engine, producing mechanical power, which in turn drives a generator and makes electricity.

The new SunCatcher is about 5,000 pounds lighter than the original, is round instead of rectangular to allow for more efficient use of steel, has improved optics, and consists of 60 percent fewer engine parts. The revised design also has fewer mirrors – 40 instead of 80. The reflective mirrors are formed into a parabolic shape using stamped sheet metal similar to the hood of a car. The mirrors are made by using automobile manufacturing techniques. The improvements will result in high-volume production, cost reductions, and easier maintenance.

Among Sandia’s contributions to the new design was development of a tool to determine how well the mirrors work in less than 10 seconds, something that took the earlier design one hour.

“The new design of the SunCatcher represents more than a decade of innovative engineering and validation testing, making it ready for commercialization,” says Steve Cowman, Stirling Energy Systems CEO. “By utilizing the automotive supply chain to manufacture the SunCatcher, we’re leveraging the talents of an industry that has refined high-volume production through an assembly line process. More than 90 percent of the SunCatcher components will be manufactured in North America.”

In addition to improved manufacturability and easy maintenance, the new SunCatcher minimizes both cost and land use and has numerous environmental advantages, Andraka says.

“They have the lowest water use of any thermal electric generating technology, require minimal grading and trenching, require no excavation for foundations, and will not produce greenhouse gas emissions while converting sunlight into electricity,” he says.

Tessera Solar, the developer and operator of large-scale solar projects using the SunCatcher technology and sister company of SES, is building a 60-unit plant generating 1.5 MW (megawatts) by the end of the year either in Arizona or California. One megawatt powers about 800 homes. The proprietary solar dish technology will then be deployed to develop two of the world’s largest solar generating plants in Southern California with San Diego Gas & Electric in the Imperial Valley and Southern California Edison in the Mojave Desert, in addition to the recently announced project with CPS Energy in West Texas. The projects are expected to produce 1,000 MW by the end of 2012.

Last year, one of the original SunCatchers set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate, toppling the old 1984 record of 29.4.

Sandia is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.


Due to a severe weather alert from the National Weather Service,  and the possibility of thunder, lightning, and flooding  tomorrow,  there is a slight possibility that Holtville Schools will be closed tomorrow. Please make a plan for your children in the event this occurs. If we do decide to close the schools, we will post that announcement no later than 6:30AM on the following website:

We will also be notifying the following radio stations. Please do not call the radio stations, but listen in the morning for any announcements regarding this.

KXO – AM 1230                 KXO – FM107.5                 KGBA 100.1 FM



Debido a una alerta de mal tiempo de el Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, y la posibilidad de truenos, rayos, inundaciones para mañana, hay una ligera posibilidad de que las escuelas estarán cerradas mañana. Por favor, haga un plan para sus hijos en caso de que esto ocurra. Si se decide cerrar las escuelas, publicaremos el anuncio a más tardar a las 6:30 AM en el siguiente sitio web:
También vamos a notificar a las siguientes estaciones de radio. Por favor, no llame a las emisoras de radio, pero escúchelas en la mañana para los anuncios relativos a esta alerta.
KXO – AM 1230                       KXO – FM107.5                                KGBA 100.1 FM


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