From the daily archives: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross is proud to be hosting the second annual Disaster Feeding Symposium from Thursday, May 6th to Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.

The symposium will bring together disaster relief feeding leaders and organizations that provide daily food manufacturing, distribution and preparation.  The event will not only be an educational and networking opportunity for leaders in this field, but will drive the concept of a statewide multi-agency feeding plan and resource guide.

“The Red Cross, state agencies, non-governmental organizations and mass care feeding experts have meticulously planned this symposium with the goal of forever changing multi-agency feeding partnerships that come together in the wake of disaster”, said Joe Craver, CEO of the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross is proud to host representatives from 15 California Red Cross chapters and 3 out-of-state chapters, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), Feeding America, Sysco, US Foodservice, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Convention, the Salvation Army, the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hormel, Chicken of the Sea, the San Diego Office of Emergency Services, the California Department of Social Services, the California Emergency Management Association, Anheuser –Busch, Cal-Fire, the California Grocers Association, Good Source Solutions, the Art Institute-San Diego, Heater Meals, the San Diego Food Bank and the San Diego Sheriff’s Food Service.

The symposium will provide guidance and resources for mass care feeding organizations and will leave participants with post-symposium action plans to put into effect as they move forward in their planning and preparedness process.

For more information about this exciting event or to register your attendance, please visit www.sdarc.org.feeding or call Holly Martin at 858-309-1312.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers stopped a drug smuggling attempt when they apprehended a 17-year-old Phoenix resident trying to smuggle marijuana taped to his torso and legs.

Photo showing packages of marijuana a taped to teen's torso.
CBP Officers at the Douglas port of entry noticed that this teen acted nervous during an inspection. They searched him and discovered more than $38,000 worth of marijuana taped to his body.

On May 2, CBP Officers were screening travelers when they observed a young male wearing a baggy shirt and baggy pants. The teen became nervous as the officers began to check his identification and ask him questions. He was identified as a U.S citizen and resident of Phoenix. When the CBP officers became suspicious and searched the teen, they discovered that he had a total of eight packages of marijuana taped to his torso and inner thighs. The marijuana had an estimated street value of more than $38,000.

CBP Officers seized the marijuana. The teen was held for questioning and turned over to the custody of the Douglas Police Department.

 

THE TIMES SQUARE CASE

Terror Suspect Arrested; Case Continues

05/04/10

FBI personnel search a house where Shahzad lived in Bridgeport,  Connecticut. AP Photo.
FBI personnel search a house where Shahzad lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut. AP Photo.

The naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan arrested last night for his alleged role in the attempted car bombing in Times Square last Saturday was a terrorist whose goal was to murder Americans “in one of the busiest places in this country,” Attorney General Eric Holder said today in Washington.

The arrest of Faisal Shahzad just over 53 hours after an explosives-filled SUV was discovered abandoned in the middle of New York City’s famous tourist area could not have happened without the cooperative efforts of federal and state law enforcement working around the clock.

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Those partnerships were evident by the people standing with the attorney general at a press conference held earlier today at the Department of Justice: FBI Deputy Director John Pistole, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris, and the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York and the District of Connecticut.

Positioning of the charges in the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder
A diagram showing the positioning of the charges in the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, along with other details on the device placed inside the vehicle.
Timer on the failed explosive device.
A close-up picture of the timer on the failed explosive device.

“Our collective success unraveling this plot comes down to traditional investigative skills and intelligence collection,” Pistole said. “We used traditional law enforcement techniques, such as federal court-authorized search warrants, along with intelligence-based authorities, to maximize our evidence and intelligence gathering.”

Working with New York Police Department detectives, the FBI identified Shahzad as the person who purchased the SUV. Based on that information, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were able to uncover Shahzad’s extensive travel to Pakistan, which eventually led to his arrest at JFK airport as he was trying to leave the country.

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole with Attorney General Holder
FBI Deputy DIrector John Pistole with Attorney General Holder at Tuesday’s press conference.

“Our Joint Terrorism Task Force agents and officers interviewed Shahzad early this morning,” Pistole said, and he was “cooperative and provided valuable intelligence and evidence.”

Shahzad is in custody and faces a variety of terrorism charges, but the case is ongoing. The Bureau continues to investigate leads here and internationally, and we are conducting a forensic examination of all evidence collected by the NYPD. “We also want to test the potential impact of the device to ascertain what would have happened had it worked as intended,” Pistole said.

Pistole and others thanked vigilant citizens, like the vendor in Times Square who reported the suspicious vehicle to authorities. “This investigation, like others we have handled in the past year, once again reminds us that our work is not finished” with regard to terrorists, he added. “We will continue to work side by side with our partners—and with citizens across the country—to find and stop those who would do us harm.”

FBI  agents and law enforcement partners at work in the New York operations  center. AP Photo.
FBI agents and personnel from partner agencies at work in the 24/7Joint Operations Center. AP Photo.

Anyone who believes they may have additional information that could assist in this investigation, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, submit a tip to the FBI electronically, or call the New York Police Department at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Resources:
Remarks by FBI Deputy Director Pistole (05/04/10)
Remarks by Attorney General Holder at Press Conference (05/04/10)
Statement on the Arrest of Faisal Shahzad (05/04/10)
Attorney General Statement on Times Square Investigation (05/04/10)
New York City Street Vendor Receives Call from the President (05/03/10)
Seeking Information on Attempted Times Square Bombing (05/03/10)
FBI and NYPD Conduct Investigation on Attempted Bombing (05/02/10)
FBI and NYPD Respond to Suspicious Vehicle (05/02/10) 

 

SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus announces May 15th is the deadline for applications for fall 2010 to enroll in the MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM. This program is most important for local professionals in the public sector wishing to pursue their Masters degree locally at SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus. For additional information on the program contact Samuel Palma at 760-768-5540(spalma@mail.sdsu.edu) or Dolores Rivera(drivera@mail.sdsu.edu) at 760-768-5517. You can also visit the website at www.ivcampus.sdsu.edu/MPrograms/MPA for additional information.

Kathleen Lang, Alumni Chapter President for SDSU-Imperial Valley Campus announces the all alumni dinner to be held this Thursday, May 6th at Carino’s Restaurant in El Centro. Reservations are encouraged for this event. This is a wonderful opportunity for alumni to network. There are hundreds of alumni in the Imperial Valley and you are cordially invited to attend this event. The event begins at 6:00 pm. For more information contact Kathleen Lang at 760-554-4001 or by email at kathleenlang@sbcglobal.net. Also in attendance will be Dr. Stephen B.W. Roeder, Dean of the Campus.

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By Luke Phillips
After all of the recent earthquakes in the area, Calexico Chamber of Commerce Director Hildy Rivera says that the 19th Annual Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras is just what people need to relax.
“People just want to celebrate something,” she said. “It’s been rough, and people want to get out.”
The festival, marking it’s 10th year in Calexico, will begin this coming Tuesday and continue all week long before wrapping up with the main event at Crummett Park on Saturday May 15.
Rivera says the earthquake has also affected the way things are being done for this year’s mariachi festival. She says that all mariachi festival events were set to take place at the Calexico Cultural Arts Center, but plans had to be changed after the building was red-tagged by building inspectors.  That means an added expense for venue rentals
“We still have a mess on our hands, but we have to on,” Rivera said.
Rivera says sponsorships are also way down this year. She says the event only has 6 or 7 major sponsors this year, as opposed to 36 last year. Rivera suspects that the decline in financial support is due to business owners spending money on fixing earthquake damage instead.
“It was already hard to find sponsorships,” she said. “Now we have the earthquake to top it all off.”
As a way of seeking new revenue to pay for the festival, Rivera is asking politicians in the area, who are campaigning for this spring’s election, to make a $200 donation in exchange for an on-stage introduction and the chance to make a short presentation to the crowd.
“If they’re going to be out there campaigning anyway, and they’re going to be there (at the festival) anyway, maybe they can help support the event,” Rivera said. “We can help each other out.”
Kicking off the festivities will be the Mariachi Mixer Tuesday at Family Style Buffett, featuring dinner, music, and guest speakers. The mixer will also offer the opportunity to sign up for the returning ‘Mariachi Idol’ contest, an ‘American Idol’ style mariachi singing competition. Potential contestants are asked to bring a CD with their own music for the audition. Judges will choose the best three singers to compete at Saturday’s mariachi concert at Crummett Park. The contestants will perform with a live mariachi band and audience members will vote to determine this year’s winner.
A Mariachi Idol audition will also be held at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Camerena Library.
The Mariachi Idol contest will continue on Wednesday at the Mariachi Festival Artesian Exhibit and Sale, an art show set for 5 p.m. at the Woman’s Improvement Club, 320 Heber Ave. Refreshments will be served.
Event sponsors will be recognized on Friday night during the 19th Annual Mariach Festival Sponsor Reception at the Woman’s Improvement Club at 6 p.m. The event is for sponsors only and is not open to the public.
On Saturday, the main event kicks off at Crummett Park at 7 p.m.
Rivera says the concert will feature mostly the same acts as last year, with one exception. All female mariachi group Las Adelitas has been added to this year’s line-up. Rivera says that she is excited to see new talent on the stage.
“They’re an all female group, which we’ve never had before,” Rivera said. “We’re all looking forward to it.”
World-famous  Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan will be headlining the festival again this year.
The group originally formed in Tecalitlan, Jalisco, Mexico in 1897 and has continued through five different generations of musicians, playing all over the world. In 1987 the band played on Linda Ronstadt’s album ‘Canciones de mi Padre”, which went on to win a Grammy award.
Rivera says the act is very well known among mariachi fans.
“In the mariachi world, this

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