From the monthly archives: February 2010

U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke today, joined by Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Tom Udall and former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya on a press conference call, announced a $11.2 million Recovery Act investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare in eastern New Mexico and west Texas. The grant will bring high-speed Internet access to more than 200 community anchor institutions — including schools, public safety organizations, healthcare facilities, and government agencies — and lay the groundwork for bringing affordable broadband service to thousands of homes and businesses in the region.

The investment will allow the ENMR Telephone Cooperative, Inc., which does business as ENMR-Plateau, to enhance broadband Internet capabilities in eastern New Mexico and west Texas by providing a more than 1,600-mile ring of fiber. Among other benefits, the project plans to expand distance learning opportunities for students at schools and libraries in rural areas and enable connectivity to a telehealth network being constructed across New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

“This critical investment will expand high-speed Internet service access to New Mexico schools and hospitals, and eventually homes and businesses, helping to make them full participants in today’s 21st century information

economy,” Locke said. “Having access to the Internet’s economic, health and educational benefits will help to improve the quality of life in these communities.”

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the Recovery Act, provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

“This $11.2 million grant to ENMR Telephone Cooperative will make it possible to build miles of new fiber-optic lines, which will benefit businesses, schools, libraries, public safety entities, and help advance the telehealth network being developed across New Mexico,” said Bingaman.

“This grant is good news for eastern New Mexico, as well as for our entire state.”

“Over the last 10 years, America has gone from being a world leader in Internet penetration to now lagging in that effort, and as a state, New Mexico sadly falls towards the bottom of that list,” said Udall, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. “I am proud this Recovery award will help develop the needed broadband infrastructure in New Mexico that will help enable teleheath services, distance learning programs and attract future businesses and jobs to our state.”

“This is great news for eastern New Mexico,” said Anaya, executive director of the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment. “The Recovery Act continues to invest in New Mexico’s communities, employing thousands, rebuilding our infrastructure, and supporting the state budget.”

New Mexico Representatives Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Luján and Harry Teague also praised today’s award.

“The world of information technology is vast, and vital to education and job opportunities in New Mexico,” said Heinrich. “By connecting New Mexicans with improved access to the Internet, we open the door to endless possibilities for learning and inspiring entrepreneurship and economic growth, which are key components of the Recovery Act.”

“As we become increasingly dependent on Internet technology for our everyday activities, we must ensure that all communities have access. Extending broadband throughout New Mexico will help our businesses grow, our children learn, and our communities stay informed,” said Luján. “It is encouraging that the Recovery Act is making this important investment in broadband technology.”

“For many communities in my district, access to broadband is a luxury – and often times that means they have to miss out on critical educational and economic opportunities,” said Teague. “These Recovery funds will help

give rural communities in New Mexico the same opportunities that their more urban counterparts currently enjoy by providing the resources needed to build local economies and job opportunities across the region.”

NTIA received more than 1,800 applications proposing projects totaling nearly $19 billion during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. NTIA is currently accepting BTOP applications through March 15, 2010 for a second round of funding.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. NTIA will announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.

 

Naco, Ariz. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized $95,000 of marijuana concealed in a spare tire of a vehicle being driven by a Tucson woman.

Early Monday morning, CBP officers were screening traffic coming from Mexico, at the Naco port of entry. The officers decided to look further at a Chevy Tahoe being driven by a 28-year-old woman from Tucson, Ariz. Utilizing high-tech detection equipment, officers discovered packages of marijuana concealed in the spare tire of the SUV. The total weight of marijuana was more than 40 pounds with an estimated street value of $95,000.

CBP officers seized the vehicle and the marijuana. The woman was turned over to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and potential prosecution.

Marijuana Seized by CBP Officers in Lukeville

Lukeville, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Lukeville port of entry have prevented marijuana from entering the U.S. by drug trafficking organizations in two separate cases in just over the past few days.

On February 18, a seizure of more than 156 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $350,000 was discovered by CBP officers. A 31-year-old woman attempting to enter the United States was arrested after the drugs were found hidden inside the quarter panels and flooring of the van she was driving.

The woman has been turned over to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for further investigation.

In a separate incident on February 22, a 29-year-old woman and her two passengers, were arrested after CBP officers noted discrepancies in the initial inspection of the Sport Utility Vehicle she was driving.

While in secondary, the officers found the gas tank to have abnormal shapes which resulted in the discovery of nearly 228 pounds of marijuana.

The three occupants were immediately arrested and turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

The marijuana has an estimated street value of $510,000.

 

El Centro, Calif. – The U.S. Border Patrol’s Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue unit was called out for a search on Monday, resulting in the rescue of one individual.

At approximately 4:20 p.m., radio dispatchers received a call from Imperial County Sheriff’s Office stating that a person had called requesting help. The person stated that he had been left behind after illegally crossing the border into the United States through the mountains near Ocotillo, Calif.

The stranded person was using a cellular telephone which allowed the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office to generate GPS coordinates of the individual’s location at the time of the call.

BORSTAR agents, along with Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine units, conducted a thorough search of the area. At the conclusion of about a three-hour search, agents were able to locate the individual. BORSTAR agents provided the individual with water, assessed his health and determined he did not require further medical assistance.

BORSTAR is one facet of the U.S. Border Patrol Border Security Initiative, which was implemented as a proactive, bi-national strategy to reduce injuries, prevent fatalities, and ultimately make the border region safer

 

By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted last Monday, Feb. 22nd,  to put a safety net in place for the city’s proposed skate park.
City Manager Laura Fischer warned them that there may not be enough money left over for the park after the city’s new public safety building is constructed.
The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that authorizes the city to submit an application for a grant from the Statewide Park Development Community Revitalization Program of 2008 to fund the park.
According to Fischer the grant is only available for new park projects, so current plans to build Holtville’s skate park at the Samaha Park tennis courts would have to be scrapped in favor of a site located at 4th Street and Pine Ave.
Applying for the grant does not preclude the city from going back to the original plan if there are capitol improvement funds left over after the public safety building is finished, but the city would lose a non-refundable application fee of up to $7,000.
The grant program provides up to $5M for each community park project, but Holtville will only be applying for $800,000  – the estimated cost of the skate park project if it is built at the 4th Street site.
Grant applications are scored using a points system based on certain criteria in the community. According to a report from Holtville Grant Manager Virginia Medoza, the city meets or exceeds all of the requirements. The scoring criteria include:
– Critical Lack of Park Space
– Significant Poverty
– Type of Project
– Community Based Planning
– Sustainable Techniques
– Fees and Hours of Operation
– Youth Outdoor Learning Employment or Volunteer Opportunities
– Community Challenges and Project benefits.
Deadline for the grant application is March 1 and grants will be awarded in September of this year.

 

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross is partnering with the United Nations Association of San Diego to offer a FREE 4-hour teacher training course, Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL).  The workshop is designed to introduce upper level middle school, high school and college educators to the American Red Cross EHL curriculum and prepare them to effectively and easily integrate the EHL curriculum into existing lesson plans.
Exploring Humanitarian Law is an innovative, international program that builds critical-thinking skills and character through understanding human dignity: instilling respect, fairness, caring and the responsibilities of global citizenship.
It will be offered on Saturday, March 27, 2010 from 10am to 2pm at the UN Association Building, located at 2171 Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park.
The American Red Cross is an authorized provider of Continuing Education Units through the International Association for Continuing Educations and Training (IACET).
The local chapter of the American Red Cross also regularly offers a class on International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which provides a framework for protection of civilians and combatants alike in a world where warfare and civil strife are a daily reality for millions.  This FREE 4-hour introductory course is intended to raise awareness among local community members and leaders about the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the basic rules of IHL and the role of the Red Cross to implement IHL during armed conflict.   All classes are held at the local Red Cross chapter headquarters located at 3950 Calle Fortunada in Kearny Mesa.  Upcoming training dates are as follows:
Thursday, February 25, 2010 from 1pm – 5pm
Saturday, February 27, 2010 from 1pm – 5pm
Saturday, March 13, 2010 from 3pm – 7pm
For more information regarding these classes or to register, please visit www.sdarc.org/internationalservices or contact Christine Seisun at 858-309-1338 or christine.seisun@sdarc.org.

 
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