From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), an average of 2.2 million couples get married each year. And one of the most popular days for couples to get engaged is Valentine’s Day.
While professions of love are an important part of each Valentine’s Day, for the thousands of men who pop the question on February 14th, the way he proposes is what takes precedence. And no part of that proposal leaves a more lasting impact than the engagement ring. In fact, the Bridal Association of America reports that 85 percent of all grooms propose with a ring. For grooms getting down on one knee this Valentine’s Day, consider the following engagement ring and proposal tips, courtesy of noted jewelry and style expert Michael O’Connor.
* Give a ring that lasts a lifetime. O’Connor is quick to note that an engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that a bride will wear everyday for the rest of her life. Therefore, grooms should look for a ring that’s not only beautiful, but durable as well. Platinum provides the best of both worlds. A naturally white metal, platinum, unlike gold, won’t cast a yellow color into a glittering diamond, but instead, enables the diamond to sparkle brighter. In addition, platinum is a more durable setting than yellow or white gold, an important point to consider when purchasing a ring, especially since you want to make sure that the center diamond is always properly secured.
* Take a cue from celebrity style. These days celebrity weddings and engagements are big news. But for couples not earning celebrity paychecks, it is still entirely possible to afford engagement rings similar to those of Hollywood’s brightest stars. After all, platinum and diamond engagement rings start at under $2,000 from retailers including, Hearts on Fire, and De Beers.
“Choose a ring style that’s comfortable, practical but also unique to your personal style sensibility,” says O’Connor. The classic platinum and diamond solitaire remains one of the more popular ring designs among celebrities, including Fergie, Beyonce and Rachel Bilson, while other Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Hudson and Eva Longoria-Parker have gone for a more romantic style. They’ve selected platinum settings that have a technique called ‘micro-pave,’ where tiny diamonds are set all over the band and/or center stone to create a shimmering effect.
“Whatever platinum engagement ring style you purchase, always remember to select the same metal for your wedding band,” notes O’Connor. “A white gold wedding ring will lose metal over time, so it wouldn’t look appropriate with a sparkling platinum engagement ring.”
* Craft a platinum proposal. Costly proposals are long gone. Nowadays, men are opting to create a meaningful experience for their future bride. “Take her to the location of your first date, or cook her the best meal that you shared together,” says O’Connor. “Your bride-to-be will think back to this moment for the rest of her life, so I encourage men to spend time planning the perfect proposal and to think of your favorite shared memories.”


By Chris Furguson
Every February, couples and lovers from all over the world hand chocolates, roses, and cards to each other to express their love for one another.  But what of the origins of the holiday itself?
One legend says that St. Valentine was a priest in 3rd century Rome.  At the time, Emperor Claudius thought that unmarried men were better soldiers than married ones and forbid young men from marrying.  Valentine secretly defied the decree until he was caught and executed.  However, the Catholic Church has two other St. Valentines listed amongst their saints, all of whom were martyred.
Another explanation was that the Christian holiday was established to supplant a popular pagan holiday known as Lupercalia.  Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15 and was in honor of the Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and the supposed founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In England and France of the Middle Ages, February 14th was believed to be the beginning of birds’ mating season.  This led to a tradition that romance should be celebrated in the middle of February.
Valentine’s Day began to flourish in England to the point where, by the 1700s, it was commonplace for people of all classes to exchange small gifts or handwritten notes to each other.  During the Victorian era, however, mass produced cards were popular forms of expressing love as direct expressions of one’s feelings were discouraged.
The tradition continues to this day, with chocolate and roses included as gifts of love or affection.
Did you know?
According to the Greeting Card Association, over 1 billion Valentines cards are sent around the world, making Valentine’s Day the second biggest card giving holiday.  In comparison, more than 2.3 billion cards are exchanged during Christmas.
2.2 million marriages take place in the US every year.  This translates to roughly 6,025 marriages per day.
In 2005, every man, woman and child in the US consumed 25.7 pounds of candy, a decline from 1997, when every person in the country ate more than 27 lbs.
The per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2005 was 25.7 pounds. Candy consumption has actually declined over the last few years; in 1997, each American gobbled or savored more than 27 pounds of candy a year.


Words Of Wisdom From An Old Philosopher

1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They’re the only culture most people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis?  Raise my hand.
14 OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
19. What happens if you get scared half to death…. twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, ‘What the heck happened?’
22. Just remember — if the world didn’t suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
24. Life isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.
1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an Optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a Weapon of math disruption.

5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his Grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, ‘No change yet.’

17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

21. A backward poet writes inverse.


By: Veronica Tamayo

As the Carrot Carnival arrived in Holtville, this gave the seniors at Holtville High School a chance to earn a little money for grad night which is coming up really quick. The date for Grad night has been set for May 27th  2010. Senior Class President Crystal Arias called up or somehow contacted as many seniors as she could , asking them to help a booth that they were planning on setting up Saturday. Seniors were asked to sign up in Miss MacDonald’s classroom, some were in the morning and other during the parade and last some for clean up. The seniors that assisted with the booth were guaranteed money off their grad night ticket. Sadly because of the bad weather conditions on Saturday, raining and cold wind, not many refreshments were sold that day. Knowing this the seniors got another chance to sell on Sunday. Again Crystal contacted as many seniors to assist with the selling, the same applied for Sunday as it did on Saturday. More hours less money they have to pay for grad night. Many seniors showed up to help. Some were assigned to take an ice chest around filled with water and soda. Going around the carnival with this ice chest seemed to be a good idea. It became easy and cheap for people to buy soda and water for a dollar. The next day Crystal decided to bring out a donation box which the seniors whom went around with the ice chest took with them and they asked people to give any donations. The Rotary Club was generous enough to give their extra doughnuts to the senior booth, which the seniors gave out to those whom gave any donations. This worked very well. Having sold these this items at the carnival gave the seniors a little boast to grad night.


San Bernardino, Calif.-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos today announced the filing of criminal charges against former Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors William Postmus and James Erwin, former Chief of Staff to Supervisor Neil Derry, on “conspiracy, corruption and bribery” charges related to a $102 million land-development settlement paid by San Bernardino County.

The complaint alleges that Erwin took $100,000 for inducing the Board of Supervisors to pay $102 million of taxpayer’s money to Colonies, a development company, in a fraudulent settlement and that Postmus took a $100,000 bribe for his vote to approve it. If convicted of all charges, Erwin faces a maximum of twelve years in state prison, and Postmus faces a maximum of eight years in state prison.

“These individuals engaged in conspiracy, corruption and bribery that cost San Bernardino taxpayers more than $100 million,” Brown said. “This is one of the most appalling corruption cases ever seen in California, and we will aggressively pursue this conspiracy until all of the facts are exposed.”

In January 2007, Erwin was appointed Assistant Assessor of San Bernardino County, a job he held until he resigned in November that year. In September 2008, he was named Chief of Staff to San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry.

Postmus served as a member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors from 2000 until January 2007, when he took office as San Bernardino County Assessor. He resigned in February 2009.

In 2002, Colonies filed a lawsuit against the County seeking to recover $23.5 million it had spent on flood-control improvements and challenging the County’s easement rights that it claimed deprived Colonies of the ability to develop its property.

On November 28, 2006, the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to approve a settlement of $102 million with the Colonies, an amount based on an unsubstantiated demand and against the advice of County Counsel and private attorneys.

The complaint alleges those votes were obtained as part of a broad conspiracy which involved extortion and bribery, culminating in acts of public corruption that cost San Bernardino taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The investigation uncovered four bribes totalling $400,000 paid by the Colonies to secure the settlement.

Colonies gave Erwin $100,000, which was deposited into the Committee for Effective Government PAC he controlled, for his role as an intermediary between Colonies and the supervisors to achieve the settlement. The complaint alleges that Erwin created political mailers depicting Postmus as a drug addict and homosexual in order to blackmail him into voting for the settlement. Erwin also created negative mailers against another supervisor prior to the vote.

In addition to the $100,000 bribe, Erwin accepted other gifts for his role as intermediary, including a private jet trip to New York, meals, lodging, entertainment, prostitutes and a watch. Erwin is facing charges of perjury in connection with failing to report those gifts after he became a county officer.

At the time of the vote to approve the settlement, Postmus was the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and led the effort to approve the settlement. The complaint alleges that he received $100,000 from Colonies, which he funneled into two Political Action Committees (PACs) that Postmus set up specifically to receive the money. Postmus controlled both PACs, the Inland Empire PAC and “Conservatives for a Republican Majority,” but attempted to conceal his connection to them.

Postmus then transferred $50,000 from the Inland Empire PAC into his campaign account and used some of the funds for personal meals and entertainment.

The Chief of Staff for Supervisor Ovitt secretly controlled the Alliance for Ethical Government PAC, which received $100,000 from Colonies. The Chief of Staff received payments for campaign consulting from the PAC.

Colonies also gave $100,000 to the San Bernardino County Young Republicans PAC that was secretly controlled by a member of the board of supervisors who voted in favor of the settlement, and whom Erwin had threatened with the exposure of damaging information. Funds from the PAC were used to pay the supervisor’s campaign expenses and fund his campaign account.

The investigation is ongoing and may lead to additional arrests.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos stated, “The assistance of the Attorney General’s Office has been, and will continue to be, invaluable in our investigation. I would like to thank Attorney General Brown for providing the excellent assistance of Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel who has been working directly with our team and Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons for his advice and direction over the past months. It is critical that confidence in their government be restored to the residents of San Bernardino County. This is just one more step in achieving that goal.”

In the Attorney General’s complaint filed today, Erwin was charged with nine felony counts, including:

– Conspiracy to Commit a Crime (Penal Code Section 182)
– Two counts of Corrupt Influencing (Penal Code Section 85)
– Two counts of Offering a Bribe to a Supervisor (Penal Code Section 165)
– Two counts of Extortion to Obtain an Official Act (Penal Code Section 518)
– Misappropriation of Public Funds (Penal Code Section 424)
– Forgery (Penal Code Section 470)

Postmus was charged with five felony counts, including:

– Conspiracy to Commit a Crime (Penal Code Section 182)
– Accepting a Bribe (Penal Code Section 86)
– Supervisor Accepting a Bribe (Penal Code Section 165)
– Conflict of Interest (Government Code Section 1090)
– Misappropriation of Public Funds (Penal Code Section 424)

The complaint is attached.

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