From the daily archives: Monday, March 1, 2010

Chelsea King’s body was found Tuesday. The 17-year-old went missing while on a jog in the San Diego area, causing thousands to search for the teen. Police believe a convicted sex offender is behind the kidnapping and murder of King. Ryan Lieber of FanSided was a friend of Chelsea’s and helped the search with YouTube videos and Tweets. He hopes Chelsea’s tragedy can prevent similar situations in the future.

My thoughts and prayers are with friends, family, and the entire San Diego community as they go through this tough time.

Chelsea King, 17, of Poway, Calif., disappeared after parking her BMW sedan outside Rancho Bernardo Community Center on Thursday afternoon. She is seen here in a photo from a group on Facebook called "Please Help Find Chelsea King." (Facebook)


Left to right: Daniel Fitzgerald, CCEZ Manager; Matthew Lesko; Mike Paredes, IVEDC VP of Business Development

Austin, TX – The Imperial Valley is a focal point for potential renewable energy development.  To showcase the opportunities present in the Imperial Valley, the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC), Imperial Valley Enterprise Zone (IVEZ) and Calexico-County Enterprise Zone (CCEZ) sent representatives to the Renewable Energy World North American Conference held February 23-25 at the Austin Convention Center.

The Renewable Energy World Conference brought together developers, finance companies, utilities, suppliers and all others working in the renewable energy field, including the American Wind Energy Association and the Geothermal Resource Association.  The conference was attended by nearly 4000 people with 227 companies and organizations exhibiting.

“This conference allowed us to make some important contacts and to promote the Imperial Valley’s renewable energy assets,” said Diane Cason, IVEZ Manager.  She attended the show along with CCEZ Manager, Daniel Fitzgerald, IVEDC VP of Business Development, Mike Paredes and IVEDC Business Development Specialist, Nicole Ochoa.

In addition to making new contacts, Daniel Fitzgerald and Mike Paredes had the privilege of explaining the opportunities the Imperial Valley has for business to someone many will recognize, Matthew Lesko of late-night commercial fame.  Mr. Lesko for many years published books on how individuals and small businesses can take advantage of federal, state and local government programs.  Mr. Lesko interview Daniel and Mike, where they had the chance to discuss workforce training, redevelopment agencies and the enterprise zone program. “It was great to meet and talk with Matthew Lesko.  He is very interested on what we are doing at the local level to help new businesses develop, including the local entrepreneur,” said Daniel Fitzgerald, CCEZ Manager.

“In addition to making new contacts, this conference also allowed us to promote the upcoming Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit,” explained Mike Paredes.

The Calexico-County Enterprise Zone (CCEZ) was designated by the State of California April, 2008.  The designation is retroactive to October, 2006, since the CCEZ replaced the expired Calexico Enterprise Zone.  The CCEZ is designated until October 15, 2021.  The Imperial Valley Enterprise Zone (IVEZ) was designated in March, 2006.  The IVEZ is designated until March 1, 2021.  Businesses that locate in a California Enterprise Zone are eligible for certain tax credits, including hiring credits that can save a business up to $37,000 per employee over 5 years.  For more information, visit or

The Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation is a partnership of private enterprise and local government that is united by the common vision of expanding and diversifying the local economy. IVEDC investors include a host of public and private organizations that are committed to building a robust economy for the benefit of all those who live and work in the region.  For more information, visit


Pine Valley, Calif. — Yesterday, drug smugglers’ attempt to transport dangerous drugs was foiled by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, after agents discovered nearly 20 pounds of narcotics stuffed inside a vehicle’s transfer case.

The seizure occurred at about 10 a.m., when a Ford Bronco was stopped at the Border Patrol checkpoint. The driver, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen, was directed to a secondary inspection area, where a K-9 team conducted an exterior search on the SUV. The K-9 alerted on the vehicle, prompting agents to investigate further.

click for hi-res
Packages of cocaine and methamphetamine are found during a vehicle stop in California.
Packages of cocaine and methamphetamine are found during a vehicle stop in California.

Border Patrol agents observed undercarriage anomalies with the vehicle’s transfer case and removed it for a closer inspection. Inside the unit agents discovered six bundles of crystal methamphetamines weighing more than six pounds and five bundles of cocaine weighing nearly 13 pounds. The illicit drugs have an estimated street value of more than $240,000.

The suspected smuggler and the narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

One of the goals for the San Diego Sector Border Patrol is to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately defeat criminal organizations operating within its area of operation. The removal of these drugs and potential proceeds from its sale helps achieve the objective and also aids in crime reduction that consequently improves the quality of life in the community.


On-the-ground personnel provide support and urgently needed supplies

(February 27, 2010) – In the waking hours of a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, Salvation Army emergency services were immediately mobilized to provide support and supplies to the effected and displaced Chileans. Salvation Army’s International Headquarters has already pledged financial assistance to assist with these efforts.

Currently, The Salvation Army in Chile is already distributing food, water, first aid kits, emergency packets, blankets, candles and other urgently required supplies. The Salvation Army mobile canteen is one of the key relief vehicles on site. In addition to financial assistance for the initial relief response, assistance coordinated by The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters Emergency Team will provide assistance in coordinating ongoing relief in the medium and long term.

Water, gas and electricity have been cut off in affected areas and will stay disconnected until emergency crews can assess the damage and prioritize immediate needs.

“People have flocked to the streets as numerous aftershocks continue to pummel the country, severely affecting older buildings in the more historical areas of larger cities,” said Lt. Col. F. Bradford Bailey, Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army in South America.

The colonel adds communication with Salvation Army centers throughout the country has been extremely difficult, as all phone lines (mobile and landlines) have been disrupted.

To assist in this effort, the public may contribute to The Salvation Army’s “Chile Earthquake” fund. Donors may give via and designate donations as “Chile Earthquake” on the online form. Also, donors can give by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY and through the mail at: The Salvation Army, Chile Disaster Relief, PO Box 80066, Prescott, AZ. 86304-8066 with designation “Chile Earthquake.”

Please be advised that The Salvation Army is now offering a “text-to-donate” option for donations to Chile Relief Efforts (via The Salvation Army). Here is a revised list of donation options to share with your audience:

The best way the public can offer practical help is by making a financial gift that can be used to buy the supplies most necessary for survival in the earthquake’s aftermath. Be sure to designate donations to “Chile Earthquake.”



Text the word “Chile” to 52000 to donate $10 (Charge will show up on phone bill. Be sure to respond “yes” to confirmation text message to secure contribution)

MAIL: The Salvation Army
“Chile Disaster Relief”
PO Box 80066,

Prescott, AZ. 86304-8066
Designate “Chile Earthquake” on check or money order.

Remember, 100% of all donations to The Salvation Army’s “Chile Relief Fund” will go directly to this relief effort.


Local Red Cross Appeals to local Valleyites for Support

[Imperial Valley]– The Imperial Valley Service Center of the American Red Cross is celebrating Red Cross Month this March by giving thanks to the hundreds of people in Imperial County who have personified America’s humanitarian spirit by donating their time, money and blood during the last year.

“America has always been a place of humanitarian action and compassion—a place where people take care of each other whether those in need are down the block or around the globe,” said Sylvia Preciado, Manager of the Imperial Valley Service Center.   “The Red Cross in Imperial Valley has relied on the everyday volunteers who donate time, blood or money; volunteers who help coordinate blood drives, volunteers who are providing vital Community Disaster and Health & Safety Education; volunteers who are on call 24/7 to answer a disaster call.”

In the past year alone, the Imperial Valley Service Center responded to local emergencies, assisted countless military families and trained people in lifesaving skills such as CPR and first aid. IVSC Red Cross volunteers are the core of the Red Cross, donating their time and energy to selflessly serve those in need; demonstrating the compassion and generosity for which Americans are known.

The IVSC and its nearly 65 volunteers and donors provide valuable tools and education to individuals, families, workplaces and schools; making us all stronger and more resilient.

Another major focus of March is Red Cross Month is to raise funds to support the many services provided everyday in the Imperial Valley.  The current state of our goal has fallen close to $45,000 short.  Though funds have been steadily arriving for the International Relief efforts in Haiti; those funds are directed to that specific Disaster Campaign.

“As a volunteer-led organization, the American Red Cross relies on the generosity of Valleyites to support our relief services for families affected by home fires and other disasters, and to prepare and train families in how to prevent and respond to potential emergencies,” said Preciado  “When you help the Red Cross, you are really helping your neighbors in Imperial County.”

The IVSC Red Cross needs continued support in the coming year.  Disasters can strike our community at any time.  This month and throughout the year, the Red Cross is asking people to give generously to the Imperial Valley Service Center. Your tax deductible donation can be mailed or brought to American Red Cross – IVSC 781 Broadway, El Centro 92243.    There are three ways you can make your check-credit card donation; either by Direct Designation to the Imperial Valley Service Center, Prepare Imperial Valley Roll Call Campaign and/or the World Red Cross Day Reception which will take place on May 8, 2010.

For more information on these Fundraising Campaigns please visit our office, or contact Sylvia Preciado at 760_352-4541 extension 6221.

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