From the daily archives: Monday, February 1, 2010

It just gets bigger and bigger every year and this year’s rib cook-off was no exception.

There were so many people that the ribs were being sold out at some of the vendors within an hour. See the highlight and the winners of this huge event.

 

Oakland-With tax season quickly approaching, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today urged Californians to avoid high-cost tax-refund-anticipation loans, which force taxpayers to “borrow their own money,” include numerous fees and can carry triple-digit annual interest rates.

According to the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA), refund-anticipation loans cost 8.4 million American taxpayers more than $800 million in 2008.

“As tax season begins, hardworking Californians should avoid tax-refund-anticipation loans and any tax preparer who advertises these loans as early tax refunds,” Brown said. “These loans carry steep interest rates and push taxpayers to borrow their own money instead of collecting their full refunds.”

A refund-anticipation loan is a short-term loan secured by a taxpayer’s anticipated income-tax refund. To obtain a tax-refund loan, taxpayers file electronically with a tax preparer who works directly with a bank to advance the refund as a loan- minus tax-preparation costs, a loan fee and other charges. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) then sends the taxpayer’s full refund to the bank.

According to NCLC and CFA, loan fees can range from $34 to $130 and other add-ons alternately referred to as application, administrative, e-filing, service bureau, transmission, or processing fees can range from $25 to several hundred dollars.

Tax refunds are available at no charge from the IRS. Taxpayers who file electronically and have their refund directly deposited by the IRS into their bank account will usually have their refunds in 8-15 days.

According to the IRS, refund-anticipation lenders often target low-income taxpayers, especially those who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. Brown urges taxpayers who are considering tax-refund-anticipation loans to take advantage of the IRS’s support programs. These include:

– The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) Program, which offers free tax help to low to moderate-income people and members of the armed services; and
– The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program, which provides free tax help to people aged 60 and older.

More information on these programs is available at: www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html.

Some taxpayers may also qualify for free federal income-tax preparation and electronic filing through the Free File program, a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. More information is available at: www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html.

Taxpayers can also locate their nearest free tax service by calling the IRS at: 1-800-829-1040.

Over the past year, Brown has taken strong action to stop tax preparers from engaging in deceptive marketing of refund-anticipation loans:

– In June 2009, Brown won a $1.3 million lawsuit against Liberty Tax Service that bars the company from using false or misleading advertising to sell tax-refund loans.
– In January 2009, Brown secured a $4.85 million settlement with H&R Block that prohibits the company from marketing refund-anticipation loans as early tax refunds.

 

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry discovered 40 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the spare tire and rear tire wells of a blue 2000 Volkswagen Beetle.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, January 27, at about 10 a.m. when a CBP officer conducting vehicle primary inspections referred the driver, a 37-year-old female Mexican citizen and her 17-year-old son to vehicle secondary for further examination.

click for hi-res
Packages of cocaine are removed from a VW Beetle.
Packages of cocaine are removed from a VW Beetle.

An intensive inspection that included a canine screening and x-ray equipment led officers to the discovery of 15 wrapped packages of cocaine. The narcotic has a street value of $360,000.

The driver and passenger, both residents of Calexico, were arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further processing. CBP seized both vehicle and narcotic.

 

Imperial Valley College will be inducting six new members into its Hall of Fame Feb. 11 during an IVC Foundation Dinner in the New Science Building lobby.

Tickets for the event are on sale for $30 each at the IVC Foundation Office and will be available at the door. Reservations may be made by calling the Foundation at 760-355-6113.

“A campus/community Hall of Fame Committee has been working with the Foundation to give new emphasis to our IVC Hall of Fame,” said Todd Evangelist, Foundation Executive Director. “They have selected an outstanding group of people.” he said.

This committee is also laying the groundwork for development of an IVC Alumni Association.

New Hall of Fame designees include:

Ron Jessie: A former Pro Bowl receiver, Ron Jessie played for the Los Angeles Rams and two other teams during an 11-year NFL career. He attended IVC, played football and also ran track. After IVC Jessie attended Kansas University where he played football and was part of the national championship track team in 1969. Mr. Jessie has since passed away in 2006 and is survived by his wife Sharon who will be attending the dinner with some of their children.

Dr. T. Kenneth James: Dr. Ken James is a Calexico High School graduate. He enrolled at IVC in the fall of 1968 and transferred to the Arkansas State University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. While at IVC he played baseball and continued doing so for ASU. He returned to the Valley, taught for the Calexico School District and later moved into administration. Recently Dr. James retired as the State Secretary of Education for Arkansas. A position he was appointed to by then Governor Bill Clinton and served through several state administrations.

Doug Harvey: Doug Harvey attended Central Junior College (pre-curser to IVC) in the late 1940’s and spent a distinguished career as a Major League Umpire for over 30 years. He has been selected into the 2010 class for Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Randy Palomino: Randy Palomino a Brawley native, attended IVC in 1968, played football and was a JC All-American. He spent his career as a teacher (1975 to 1994), Assistant Principal (1992-2002) and recently retired as Superintendent 2005-2008 for the Anderson Union High School District in Anderson, CA.

Dr. Stan Arterberry: He retired in July 2008 after six-year tenure serving as Chancellor for West Valley-Mission Community College District and more than 35 years in higher education. He spent 20 years as a community college CEO. In 2008, he was awarded the Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award from the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA).

Jim Duggins: Jim Duggins attended IVC in the early 70’s and played basketball for the college. Jim developed a very successful and award-winning construction company. He also has been an enthusiastic supporter of the IVC Athletics Department and has spearheaded efforts to support a mission in Loreto, Mexico through an annual fishing derby: “Fishin for the Mission.” Established by Ray Duggins in 1961, Duggins Construction Inc. is one of the elite construction companies in the Imperial Valley. In 1987, Jim Duggins became the president of DCI. Jim began to promote the company in the Imperial Valley as a commercial construction company and

began to build commercial and industrial projects.

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico Planning Commission approved Monday the parking agreements between Calexico 10 Movie Theater and the future Medical Building in that area.

The commission approved the determination for joint use of parking facilities at the Calexico 10 Theatre site. The Planning Commission approved last year the subdivision of the Movie Theater area into three parcels. Two weeks ago, the commission adopted a resolution finding that the land transfer of parcel #1 between RDA and Pacific Media Properties was in conformity with the General Plan. Pacific Media Properties plans to create a medical building in that parcel that will provide laboratory, imaging, and other medical services.

The Redevelopment Agency of Calexico took over the property in 2006 to avoid the closing of the theaters. Shortly thereafter, the Council gave direction to RDA to separate the property into parcels.

The Calexico 10 Movie Theater parking lot is underutilized according to a survey done by the City. The survey revealed that at the busiest time (8:00PM), the most parking spaces used were 57 spaces which represents 15% of the parking facility. This is attributed to the fact that Theater attendance had declined due to the opening of Cinemark at Imperial Valley Mall. Parcel #1 currently contains 140 parking spaces which are part of the 396 spaces throughout the facility. The new proposed building would displace approximately 68 parking spaces. This leaves approximately 72 parking spaces available for Parcel #1 use. The proposed two-story building is approximately 25,000 sf therefore requiring approximately 100 spaces. Parcel 1 development could be short approximately 28 parking spaces.

City finds that there will be no conflict peak demand times due to the fact that the operation of theater and medical office will be different. The demand time for the medical office building will be between 8:00AM to 5:00PM Monday thru Friday while peak demand time for theater use is after 5:00PM Monday thru Thursday and during the weekend when the Medical Facility will be closed.

The RDA is agreeable to the recordation of a reciprocal parking and access agreement.

In other items, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit in order to allow the permanent installation of two modular units for use of classrooms on a property located on Emerson Avenue.

The application for the CUP was submitted to the City in order to consider allowing the permanent placement of two modular units for use as classrooms by the CEDES Community Christian Church located on Emerson Ave. City code states that mobile units for use exceeding 90 days requires review and approval for Conditional Use Permit. Commissionaire Eduardo Lopez excused himself from this item since his father owns property near the property.

The existing building  on the property which once served as NAPA auto parts but now is currently used by CEDES. The use of the building as a church in the city’s Industrial zones is permitted. During the review of the proposed application, the applicant was advised that a CUP was needed in order to locate those units.

Pastor Jose Luis Benson said that those units would be used to for the youth groups and bible study sessions. The modular units will be limited to Wednesday and Sunday. The Council Chambers were packed by people that congregate at the Church. There was some discussion about the City requiring the Church to improve the landscaping and the condition of the sidewalk along Seventh Street. Members of the Church were concerned that the City would put an extra burden on the Church by requiring improving the landscape.

After some discussion it was clarified by the Church leaders that they will not be using Seventh Street since the only entrance they use is from Emerson Ave. The Planning Commission deliberated and agreed to grant the CUP and eliminating conditions number 5 & 6 that required the applicant to replace the sidewalk on Seventh Street and improve the alley in order to have it in accordance with City Codes

 
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