From the daily archives: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CALEXICO, Calif. — In two days, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry seized $887,000 worth of narcotics in two separate and unrelated seizures.
The most recent seizure occurred yesterday, Monday, February 22, at about 2:40 a.m. when CBP officers arrested a 28-year-old male U.S. citizen after they discovered 25 packages of cocaine concealed inside the gas tank of the grey 2006 Nissan Altima he was driving.
During the primary vehicle inspection, the officer noticed discrepancies with the gas tank and referred both the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth inspection.
After an intensive inspection that included a canine screening, officers discovered the concealed packages. The narcotics weighed 68 pounds with a street value of $544,000.
The driver, a resident of Brawley, California, was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further processing.
The second seizure occurred on Friday, February 19th at about12:30 a.m. when officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET) conducting pre-primary enforcement operations referred a 56-year-old male Mexican citizen to vehicle secondary after a narcotic detector dog alerted to the vehicle he was driving.
After an intensive examination on the green 1993 Plymouth Voyager, officers discovered 103 packages of marijuana concealed throughout the van. The narcotics weighed 343 pounds with a street value of $343,000.
The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of ICE agents for further processing.
In both incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors accepted a document proposal to have the County join a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

The board voted Tuesday to approve a proposal from the Imperial County Planning and Development Services Department to accept a document prepared by members of the South County EDC; East County EDC; Imperial County Planning and Development Services; IVEDC; and Sand Diego County.

The request from the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is to pursue the establishments of an Economic Development District which would include portions of South and East San Diego County and all of Imperial County. By Authorizing this document, the Strategy will be sent to the California State Planning Office and the Federal Economic Development Administration by Southern California EDC.

County Planning Director Jurg Heuberger told the board that by accepting strategy the County of Imperial will not be committed and not guaranteeing that they will support the formation of an EDD, only that further information will be presented later on. He also stated that the proposal has been reviewed by the Imperial County Overall Economic Development Commission on three occasions and voted not to accept the joint CEDS and has no interest on the EDD.  The proposal of forming the EDD was discussed by the County City Managers Association and the group spoke against accepting the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and against the formation of the Economic Development District.

In 2009, the South County Economic Development Council got funding from the EDA to prepare a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the creation of an Economic Development District and is now asking for the County of Imperial to approve it. The EDD will be composed of 32 members, 16 from San Diego and 16 from Imperial Valley.

There were some concerns among the Supervisors that having a large board will make it difficult for the appointed residents of the Imperial Valley to attend the meetings in San Diego on a monthly basis. After some discussion the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to accept this Economic Development Strategy with Supervisor Jack Terrazas voting against it.


By Chris Furguson
Friday, February 26, the latest edition of the Callifornia Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta will begin with the theme “Discover Treasures Below The Sea.”
The theme is in reference to the fact that much of the Imperial Valley lies below sea level.
This year’s main attractions include several tribute bands at the Granite Construction Grandstand Stage in lieu of a single major act.
Friday will see the Van Halen tribute act known as “Hot For Teacher,” while Saturday will have “Yesterday,” an homage to the Beatles.

Monday will have the High School Madness competition, where local schools will compete in various wacky events to win cash for their school’s ASB organization.
Tuesday will see the local Jimmie Cannon Music Festival, a tribute to the long time El Centro musician.
Wednesday’s Guns & Hoses competition will bring police and fire agencies from all over Imperial County in a competition akin to High School Madness.  The popular event comes back after its debut in 2009.
Called one of the hottest acts on the West Coast, Whiskey Dawn, will perform on Thursday at the Grandstand.
All grandstand entertainment during the fair is free with the price of admission.
The fair also has several local bands performing on the Rabobank Center Stage, including The Pink Army, The Companies, Indiginous Peoples, The Mudpuppies, Nick Wells & Big Bad Wolf, Mojo Vibe and Valley Jazz.
The mainstay of the Fair, however, are the livestock.
Kids and young adults from all over the county have spent the past few months raising and caring for animals, all to be judged this weekend for the best in the Valley.
All qualifying and champion animals will then be up for next weekend’s auctions.
For the kids, a traditional midway, full of rides will be available in the back of the fairgrounds, along with games and food vendors.
Inside the Preble Building, a sand sculpting demonstration will take place over the weekends while “mermaid” races and various contests will be judged. Additionally, a “Kid’s Treasure Hunt” will take place.
At the Calico Stage at the front of the Fair, the IV Idol competition will continue for the sixth straight year while many local acts will take to the stage throughout the week.
Another mainstay of the Fair is the various cooking competitions, including salsas, ice cream, sandwiches and Italian dishes.
Tickets for fair admission are $8 for adults, $5 for children and $6 for seniors age 60 and over. Children under five years of age are free.


Congressman Filner and the Building Industry Coalition for Economic Recovery joined together in Downtown San Diego in protest of several large banks who have failed to alter their lending practices that would have helped many small businesses and homeowners. Congressman Filner encourages the public to boycott banks like Bank of America who are resisting federal legislative reform that would lower the risk of another financial meltdown.

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