From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nogales, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped a drug smuggling attempt when they seized 1.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in a can of powdered milk.

On February 2 at about 12:30 p.m., CBP officers were screening pedestrians at the DeConcini Morley Gate at the Nogales port of entry. CBP officers became suspicious of a woman who was identified as a United States citizen and resident of Nogales, Ariz.

CBP officers searched the woman’s belongings and found that the can of powdered milk she was carrying had a plastic bag of crystal meth concealed in the bottom of the can. The crystal meth weighed more than 1.5 pounds and had an estimated street value of more than $70,000.

CBP officers seized the crystal meth. The woman was turned over to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecutio


The Stockmans Club in Brawley was the venue for the second Taste of the Valley event hosted by the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation on January 29, 2010.

The event was designed to promote the importance of agribusiness in the Imperial Valley.

In addition to a front area with tri-tip, salad, vegetables, dessert and samples of a locally produced olive oil, a contest was held in the back area of the club where four teams vied for the best recipe using local ingredients.

People’s choice winner was Brandt Beef while Judges’ choice went to Valley’s Best Sidekicks.  The Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association and Family-Fresh Farms rounded out the competitors.

For more information about this and other events in the Imperial Valley, please check out this week’s edition of the Weekly-Chronicle

For the Imperial Valley Weekly – Calexico Chronicle newspaper, this is Chris Furguson, reporting.


What host or hostess wants company leaving their home with a laundry list of complaints about the party or get-together they just attended? While not everything about the event is bound to go picture-perfect, there are some things individuals should keep in mind when inviting others into their home.
DO have plenty of food and beverages on hand. Skimping on refreshments is not the way to win rave reviews. If you’re having 25 people over, be sure to have enough food for them all.
DON’T expect guests to bring food or wine with them unless you specify that this is a pot-luck type of party. Even in terms of bring-your-own type parties, many invitees feel resentment at having to come to a party with something in hand.
DO take the time to mingle and converse with every guest you have invited. This makes everyone feel special and comforted in that you invited them because you truly enjoy their presence.
DON’T spend time at the party cleaning up or washing dishes. Guests may get the impression you’re disinterested or are simply trying to usher them out of the door earlier. Save the dishwashing and clutter control for the end of the event.
DO get on the same page with your spouse or other housemates about the start time of the party. Arguments can ensue when guests arrive ahead of time and the space is not yet prepared for the party.
DON’T assume that everyone will abide by the invitation for arrival time. Expect that there will be some people who will arrive early (there are those friends and family who love to be the first on the scene). Similarly, there will be those who enjoy being fashionably late. A good host or hostess will be able to accommodate and hide his or her annoyance.
DO keep arguments or critique of a spouse or other family members out of the party. Guests will feel uncomfortable if there are fights or squabbles in front of them. Plus, it’s simply not classy to do so.
DON’T forget to check the powder room frequently to ensure that the hand towels are adequate or that the waste basket is cleaned out.
DO know that you can’t control the weather. So do your best to work with what Mother Nature dishes out the day of your party.
DON’T assume everyone likes to eat what you do. Put out a variety of foods that will meet with others’ dietary restrictions or preferences. Always include a vegetarian and even vegan option that will be filling.
DO specify the type of party you will be having on the invitation. You do not want guests arriving thinking you’re serving dinner when cocktails and appetizers are the only fare.
DON’T embarrass guests or make them feel uncomfortable in any way. If there is a breakage or spill, handle it with tact. Also, if you’re hosting one of those parties where someone is selling anything from candles to jewelry, don’t single out anyone for failing to make a purchase.
DO keep any pets contained. You may love wet kisses or fur on your clothing, but others may not be so enthralled with the pet experience.
DON’T forget to send out invitations a few weeks to a month in advance of an event. Today’s invitations can be customized and there are so many design possibilities available.


By Chris Furguson
With a 4-0 vote, the Brawley City Council voted to approve an emergency bid for six hybrid vehicles at their February 2 meeting.
The vehicles, five 1/2 ton Silverado Hybrid Trucks and one Ford Hybrid Escape, will cost the city a total of $225,355 thanks to the bid from Wondries Fleet Group out of Alhambra, CA.
The other bidder, El Centro’s Desert Auto Plaza, was not able to provide needed Escape.
The money for the purchases came from a federal CMAQ grant worth $190,000 along with $35,335 in matching funds from the city.
Because of the federal source of the grant, no preference could be granted to local bidders.
The need for the emergency vote came on the heels of CalTrans changing a few schedules in Sacramento.  Public Works Director Yasmin Arrellano said her staff was expecting the purchase approval by the middle of March.
Four of the Silverado hybrid vehicles will be used by Public Works while one will be used by the Parks & Rec department.
The Escape will become a city vehicle to transport employees from one location to another.


Every 90 seconds, a home fire is reported in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, eight out of 10 fire fatalities occur where we feel safest — in our own homes. Many fires start at night and research shows young children and older adults are the majority of victims in home fires.
– Would installing fire sprinklers save lives?
– Is the added cost a necessary investment for homeowners?
– Should it be mandated by law?
The nation’s leading building code body, the International Code Council (ICC), thinks so. The ICC develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the international codes developed by the ICC. The ICC fire sprinkler mandate stipulates that all new residential homes, both one- and two-family dwellings, must include fire sprinklers starting Jan. 1, 2011.
A heated debate among builders, fire marshals and consumers has ignited in the wake of the ICC mandate. Opinions run the gamut, depending on who you talk to: Fire officials welcome the mandate, while some builders say this is an unnecessary and costly precaution.
“Fire sprinklers save lives,” says Stan Scofield, a fire inspector from Plymouth, Minn. “We have never seen a fatality in a home fire where a working fire sprinkler system was installed. Unfortunately, we see our fair share of tragedies in homes without one installed.”
Critics argue that the cost of building a new home is already high, and that adding the expense of fire sprinklers may turn some homeowners away from the building process. “I am including a fire safety system in a home that we are currently building,” Jim Moras, owner of Highmark Builders of Burnsville, Minn., says. “In this case, we are putting it in based on a request from the homeowner. But I think the industry is balking at having a mandate that demands sprinklers in every new home built, potentially driving up the final house cost.”
But some homeowners liken sprinklers to having their own personal “fire department” on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for protection and peace of mind. A residential fire sprinkler system can contain a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene. Yet, only about two percent of U.S. homes are equipped with fire sprinklers.
“Research makes a compelling argument to mandate fire safety systems in residential building codes,” says Jayson Drake, senior product manager, Plumbing and Fire Safety, for Uponor North America. “And with an industry standard cost of approximately $1.61 per square foot, the investment for homeowners equals that of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances — common upgrades by today’s standard. But this upgrade saves lives.”
Although the cost of installing a fire safety system seems to be a central issue, excluding a system based on a price tag may be a shortsighted decision. According to the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, fires cause more than $6 billion in direct property damage every year in U.S. homes. Much of this damage is caused by firefighters’ hoses, which discharge 200 gallons of water per minute into a burning home.
Conversely, a fire sprinkler sprays 10 to 15 gallons per minute, minimizing overall property damage. And with only the sprinklers closest to the fire activating, 90 percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one or two sprinklers, causing only a fraction of the water damage of a fire department hose. With the ICC mandate in effect, the annual $6 billion property damage figure should decrease significantly over the next decade, according to Drake from Uponor.
Though these savings won’t pay for the initial installation investment, some homeowners and real estate agents are starting to recognize that sprinklers may be a good long-term investment.

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