From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s a good time to have four furry legs. Pet ownership has surged over the past twenty years, and dogs in particular are enjoying major popularity. But whether you already own a pooch or are searching for one that’s right for you, it’s interesting to note which are the most popular dogs in America.
For the 19th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular purebred dog in America, but could this be the last year for the Lab’s reign? According to American Kennel Club (AKC) 2009 registration statistics, the German Shepherd overtook the Yorkie and is now ranked second most popular in the nation for the first time in more than three   An American favorite since the time of Rin Tin Tin, the German Shepherd became the number one breed of the 1920s, but slipped in popularity until after World War II.
“Labs have been America’s top dog for nearly two decades due to their loyal and gentle nature,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “But the German Shepherd has gained ground recently, quite possibly due to the increased attention they receive for their security efforts at home and abroad, and search and rescue efforts in Haiti.”
The most popular dogs in the country according to the AKC are:
1. Labrador Retriever

2. German Shepherd Dog

3. Yorkshire Terrier

4. Golden Retriever

5. Beagle

6. Boxer

7. Bulldog

8. Dachshund

9. Poodle

10. Shih Tzu

The type of dog you choose can say a lot about your personality.
Labrador Retrievers are an ideal sporting and family dog. Millions of Americans own and love Labs because of their even temperament, trainability and family-friendly nature.
German Shepherds are hailed as the world’s leading police, guard, and military dog, however this dependable breed is more than its nine-to-five job. Energetic, approachable and fearless, German Shepherds are loyal family pets and good guard dogs, the ideal choice for many families.
Yorkies offer big personalities in small packages. They serve as great companions for all ages, due to their loving personality and convenient, portable size.
With their friendly temperament, intelligence and eagerness to please, Golden Retrievers are popular as family companions. This active and energetic Sporting breed can adapt to many different living situations but requires daily exercise in order to thrive.
Beagles make wonderful family pets due to their merry personalities, compact size, and easy-care coat. Curious and comedic, they often follow their noses, which can sometimes lead to a little mischief.



I am announcing today that I intend to run for a second term for the Office of Sheriff of Imperial County.  I have had the privilege of being your Sheriff and serving the constituents of the Imperial County for the past three years. I am asking for your continued support.

Although we are dealing with budget problems, and the future is tenuous, we can become a stronger community by working together. The Sheriff’s Office has improved by being fiscally responsible and working with our constituents. I am looking forward to leading this outstanding organization for the next four years and continuing the progress we have already begun.

The next few years will be a defining time for the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office. Although we have made substantial gains in many areas, the work has only begun. As we move into a new era, we have the opportunity to create a stronger vision of being a “Service” organization to the members of our communities.  We are positioned to take the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office to a higher level of excellence. Our goal is to continue to enhance safety and service. The City of Holtville has shown its confidence in our ability to provide outstanding service when it contracted with the Sheriff’s Office for their law enforcement services.

During my first term I have come to know the communities of the Imperial Valley and their unique needs. As I campaigned for Sheriff I recognized we had to “return to the basics”. There was a need to return to the communities and regain their trust, and reconnect with them. To accomplish this we focused on filling and retaining twenty-two vacant Deputy Sheriff positions. Within the second year we filled these positions and have been able to significantly slow the high turn- over rate.  With this done we have put more Deputies in the field. Not only have we put more units on the road, we are now assigning Deputies to communities on long term assignments, addressing the communities concerns of not knowing their Deputies.

The concerns of our Corrections Division have gained equal importance, and many issues have been addressed. Just as in the Operations Division, we focused on filling and retaining over fifteen Correctional Officer positions.  In concert with Deputy Sheriff recruitment,  we were able to fill most of these positions. This has allowed us to provide a safer environment not only to our correctional staff, but also to the inmate population. We have invested in replacing and upgrading important equipment in the correctional facilities that will help officers keep this a safe environment. As the State budget problems impact the County, issues in Corrections are playing a more significant role. However, we are moving in a positive direction.

I hope to meet many more of you throughout the next few years. I also ask, and welcome, any ideas that can help us become a better organization.


Raymond Loera

Imperial County Sheriff



By Chris Furguson
At the meeting on February 16, 2010, the Brawley City Council said they would be willing to look at a proposal to create a county-wide enterprise zone without making a full committment to the project.
Brawley’s 4-1 vote comes off the heels of a 5-0 vote from the Imperial County Board of Supervisors in favor of the idea at  their meeting last week.
The issue was brought to the board’s attention just in time for this afternoon’s Joint Powers Authority (JPA) vote on the issue.  The JPA consists of two voters from Brawley, two from the county and one from the IID, all of whom vote on the direction of the Imperial Valley Enterprise Zone (IVEZ) that includes Brawley.
Jurg Heuberger, County Planning Director and voting member on the JPA, requested the item be placed on the Brawley agenda.
Heuberger said that the change from two enterprise zones to one would benefit the entire county.
“It would be a great opportunity to expand the scope of the enterprise zone,” Heuberger said. Heuberger also added that it would allow California the chance to grant a new enterprise zone if the IVEZ combined with the Calexico County Enterprise Zone (CCEZ).
Opposition to the proposal came quickly as City Manager Gary Burroughs, one of the city’s voters on the JPA, said he would recommend that the council vote against the idea.
“We have great synergy between (IVEZ Manager) Diane Cason and the city staff.  That would be disrupted for two to three years if we changed now.”
Other council members voiced similar concerns as wel, including Mayor Ryan Kelley.
“We lost two to three years when the IVEZ started up,” said Kelley, who also added his concerns about adding other entities to the zone.
“We’re starting to see the zone being used and we’d like to see that continue for the time being.”
For the rest of the time, support and opposition to the change came from various people, inlcuding Mark Grant, a council member from Imperial, and John Hart, who helped with the IVEZ formation.
“People are acting as if competition between cities doesn exist and isn’t healthy and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Hart.
Hart also told the council that one supposed business wanted to move an area near the Imperial County airport but wouldn’t commit due to a lack of an Enterprise Zone.
“I want to ask the company if anyone suggested they look at Brawley, which has a fine airport,” said Hart.  “I want to know if any of the other cities are thinking regionally like we are being told to think?  I think the answer is ‘no.’”
Tim Kelley, director of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, added that combining the enterprise zones would help the county in business retention, one of the primary purposes of the system.  Kelley also said that the enterprise zones helps him and the IVEDC in promoting the area to outside businesses.
“The IVEZ is a big part of our toolkit,” said Kelley.
Council member George Nava said he was interested in looking at the countywide proposal but wanted “to see a benefit to Brawley.”
Council member Sam Couchman, Brawley’s other vote on the JPA, echoed Nava’s sentiments.
“I don’t see a benefit to Brawley in this,” said Couchman.  “There’s a benefit to the rest of the county, but I just don’t want to see Brawley go back to square one.”
Mayor Pro Tem Don Campbell, who voted against the proposal to look into the idea without a total committment said that he didn’t have enough information to cast a vote for or against.
Included among the items not known at the present time are the leadership of the proposed new zone, how new entities would enter into the project and what would become of the current management of the two enterprise zones.
The proposal itself began as Heuberger’s request to the JPA that the money generated by the enterprise zones, some $360,000, be better spent.
In November 2009, at a training conference for enterprise zones, the EZ director for California’s Housing & Community Development Department, John Nunn, suggested that both the IVEZ and the CCEZ could be combined to increase the amount of qualifying space for benefits and free up an additional slot for the state.
Heuberger then requested that both the Calexico and Brawley City Councils look into the issue.
There is an August 2010 deadline for new enterprise zone applications that the county is trying to reach.
When the IVEZ was formed, Brawley, the IID and the County had to pay for several items, including consultants and an environmental impact report.  The costs were also factors in the Brawley Council’s reluctance to support a county-wide zone.


Video highlights from the city of El Centro’s Mardi Gras Celebration, Saturday, Feb. 13:


By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council authorized the Police Chief to hire two temporary part-time traffic controllers for use on Imperial Avenue during high traffic periods.
Traffic congestion on Imperial Ave. has increased substantially during the last few months due to the new federal program stated by the Mexican Government known as SIAVE.  It is supposed to  search for illegal weapons from crossing into Mexico in all of its ports of entry. This program is part of the Merida Initiative approved by the U.S. Congress in 2008 to help Mexico with the War on Drugs. But it also has jammed up traffic.
The new surveillance program takes eight seconds to inspect each car, making long lines to cross into Mexico. It was reported that on December 24, 2009  people trying to cross to Mexicali waited three hours in the line. High traffic on  Imperial Ave. was only seen in December but now those long lines will be  seen from now on, according to Chief Jim Neujahr.
The Calexico Police Department uses full time parking enforcement officers, Part-time Traffic Controllers, and Student Workers from Imperial Valley College, to control the traffic congestion. As the Parking Enforcement Officers must also perform their parking duties during the day, their hours are staggered to have some of them to be available in the afternoon .
Much of the current traffic congestion is seasonal and may subside later when  the agricultural season comes to an end, Neujahr said.
Calexico depends a lot on the IVC student workers,  more often during the holidays; many of their hours have been used.  There is no replacement for the workers and our resources assigned to perform the traffic control function will be less and there will be only a few city paid workers available, Neujahr said.
In other items, the council decided to table an item that would put a measure on the ballot that would propose a half cent sales tax for police and fire. This same measure was put on the ballot last year and failed to pass to due a lack of campaigning by the City of Calexico. It was decided by the City Council to table this item since Mayor David Ouzan was absent from this meeting and has been the one promoting the measure to be put for the voters of Calexico.

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