From the daily archives: Monday, May 3, 2010

Smartphone Application Makes Getting Home After Celebrating Easier

Today the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and Taxi Magic announced a promotional partnership to encourage those who have had too much to drink to designate a sober driver. Taxi Magic is a new, highly popular, free application for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm Smartphones that provides one-button ease to contacting, tracking, and even paying for a taxi ride.

Impaired driving accounts for the highest number of fatal crashes in California and the nation.  While the public is aware of the dangers of DUI, they still can find themselves in situations where a designated sober driver is not available. Where previously calling a cab might have been intimidating, embarrassing or bothersome, this latest technology can make it as easy as one tap on your cell phone screen.

“While we have long advocated taxi cabs as a good alternative in the list of designated sober driving possibilities, both the ease and extras offered through the technology of Taxi Magic make it a great service for those who shouldn’t be driving,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety.

“Taxi Magic is thrilled to partner with OTS to bring the message of making sure a sober driver is at the wheel when you are out celebrating,” added Tim Csontos, Taxi Magic Vice President for Business Development.  “Its unique position of leadership and innovation in traffic safety will help many lives to be saved.”

Taxi Magic has several unique features, including a “Magic Book” button which can handle multiple tasks that alcohol impaired people could find difficult, making the service ground-breaking and potentially very helpful in keeping drunk drivers off the road.

Available in most large metropolitan areas in California, the “Magic Book” option allows registered users to simply tap the button on their Smartphone and let the application do the rest.  It will determine where the caller is, contact the cab company, and dispatch the cab to the caller’s location automatically.  While waiting, the caller can check to see where the cab is on route, which cab it is, who the driver is, and when it arrives. The caller can even use the application to automatically pay by credit card and get a receipt emailed to them.

In smaller towns where the Magic Book option is not available, callers can still use the service to automatically call local taxi companies.  It is also available on the Web and by text messaging via www.taximagic.com, and can be set up hours or days in advance.

Combating impaired driving is Challenge Area Number 1 in the State’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The partnership will help promote the important messages of not driving while impaired and using designated sober drivers when you have had too much.

 

The Registrar of Voters is recruiting poll workers to fill vacancies at the polls.  A minimum of 29 volunteers are needed to serve at the polls on Election Day June 8, 2010 in the communities listed below.

CALEXICO 16
EL CENTRO 8
HEBER 1
BRAWLEY 2
IMPERIAL 1
SALTON SEA 1

Poll Workers receive a stipend for the day that ranges from $75.00 for Inspectors to $65.00 for all other clerks and an additional $15.00 stipend for working and attending the required Election Training Class.  Volunteers who are bilingual in Spanish are also being recruited to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

Registered voters, with an interest in serving their community, can call the Elections Office for information or to volunteer at 760-482-4226.  The Registrar of Voters office is located at 940 Main St., Rm 202,  El Centro, CA  92243.  The Elections website is: http://www.imperialcounty.net/Elections/PdfDefaultDocuments/June82010Election/PWWDATEapp060810.pdf

 

INDIO, Calif. – United States Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station seized a cocaine shipment on Friday with an estimated street value of approximately $1.3 million.   A red Ford Mustang driven by a male 43-year-old U.S. citizen approached the primary inspection area of the Highway 86 Checkpoint where a canine team alerted to the vehicle during a cursory inspection.  When agents investigated further they found several packages containing cocaine wrapped in black electrical tape in a compartment built below the rear seat.   The driver, vehicle and cocaine were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.   So far this fiscal year, the El Centro Sector Border Patrol has seized approximately 850 pounds of cocaine as compared to 170 pounds of cocaine seized during fiscal year 2009.   U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 

By Mario Conde

Tony Gonzales and Carmen Estrada receive donations from John Renison and Bill Hodge

Contractors are working hard to repair the damage caused by earthquake in order to reach the target day for school opening on May 10th, 2010.

The Calexico Unified School District announced last Wednesday that three major contractors have been employed and began repairs on Wednesday evening, April 28, 2010. They are currently alternating between two ten-hour shifts, diligently working to meet the May 10 school opening.

The repairs on Main Elementary the removal of overhangs on each building have begun. On Dool Elementary, contractors are making electrical and ceiling repairs. William Moreno Junior High had its gas leaks repaired Monday and De Anza began to remove modulars.

Every six months all sites undergo an inspection for asbestos to comply with State and EPA laws. These Inspections are conducted by an outside source.  After each inspection, a report is compiled. If any abnormalities are found, a report is sent to the EPA. The District must comply with all EPA regulations.

As of Friday, the following sites have been detected with traces of asbestos due to the earthquake: Jefferson Elementary, Calexico High School and De Anza Jr. High School. Asbestos was found on the stucco ceiling and soffits. The abatement process began on Monday, April 26, 2010; however, it was temporarily suspended by the contractors due to high winds and concerns about the safety of their employees.

All other sites have been sampled and tested negative for asbestos. Those sites have been deemed safe in regards to asbestos. Testing and monitoring will continue as will the reporting of any asbestos issues. The District said they will continue to ensure that the safety of the students and staff remains their top priority.

The district had its Parents Drop in Center at San Juan Diego Parish Hall in Calexico were 6, 413 students received educational packets.

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EL CENTRO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector, deputies from Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from Reach Air coordinated a multi-agency rescue of a man stranded in the mountains west of El Centro.   On Thursday at approximately 6:10 a.m., El Centro Sector received a call from the Imperial Country Sheriff’s Offices in regards to a person claiming to be in distress and in need of medical attention.  Agents were advised that Reach Air was in the location and had a visual of the person.   Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) Agents proceeded to the location and provided first response treatment for an injured knee and prolonged exposure to inclement weather.   After the individual declined further medical attention, it was determined he was  a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States and was arrested and transported to the El Centro Station for processing.   BORSTAR is one facet of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Border Safety Initiative (BSI), which was implemented as a proactive, bi-national strategy to reduce injuries, prevent fatalities, and ultimately make the border region safer for the communities they serve.   U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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