From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Emily Acosta, Bailey Sparlin

Emily Acosta had a terrific experience on Sunday when she got the V.I.P. treatment at the Emily Osment concert in San Diego.  Emily, and her friend Bailey Sparlin were able to go backstage prior to the concert and meet with the performer, get her autograph, and have photos taken.  This treat was a belated Christmas gift from her big brother, Cody, who is a friend of Emily Osment’s tour manager, Leo Herrera.  Emily and Emily spent a few minutes getting acquainted before the concert began.  Emily and Bailey had center-stage position for the concert, and Emily was able to get several handshakes from Ms. Osment during the concert.  Emily Osment also reached down and presented Emily with her guitar pick after one of her songs.

Emily Osment is an actress, singer, songwriter, and spokesmodel.  Though she has appeared in several movies, she is best known for her portrayal of Lilly Truscott on the Disney program “Hannah Montana”.She is a high school senior and is the younger sister of actor Haley Joel Osment.  Her first single “All the Way Up” premiered on Disney Radio in August 2009.  Her debut album is due out in June from Wind-Up Records.

Bailey Sparlin, Emily Osment, Emily Acosta

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By Luke Phillips
Church-goers around the Imperial Valley came together Thursday, May 6th to join millions of others around the country in observance of the National Day of Prayer.
Imperial Valley Salvation Army Captain Jerry Esqueda says the event brings people together out of respect for what God has done for our country.
“We’re going to lift the nation up in prayer,” Esqueda said. “This Thursday was a time for reflecting on what we’ve been through, and what’s going on now, and where we’re going.”
The National Day of Prayer  kicked off in the Imperial Valley with a breakfast and prayer service hosted by the Salvation Army, and according to Esqueda, several special guests were expected.
Speaking at the breakfast was Philip Swyers, the director for the Salvation Army’s western region, a huge territory that stretches from Micronesia to Alaska, and to El Paso, Texas in the east.
Esqueda says the local chapter of the Salvation Army has been very active in helping with recovery from Easter Sunday’s 7.2 earthquake, and he thought it would be the perfect time for Swyers to see the chapter in action.
“We just thought it would be a great time for him to come and represent the Salvation Army,” Esqueda said.
Esqueda says invitations were also extended to the mayor of Mexicali, the Mexican Consul, and several officials from the Mexican Salvation Army.
Roberta Burns, president of the local Kiwanis Club, and Captain Richard Thompson from NAF El Centro read scripture at the breakfast and El Centro city council member Sadalia Sanders was the Master of Ceremonies.
The event is open to the public and will offer a buffet style breakfast of eggs, chorizo, bacon, beans, fruit, and bagels for $10 per person.
“We’re just looking to have a great time and come together to provide fellowship and encouragement with all the changes going on in America and the world,” Esqueda said. “We want to remember our troops and our firefighters and our police and all the people that are keeping our nation free and lift them up in prayer.”
The Salvation Army breakfast began at 7 a.m. at Ryerson Youth Center, located at 1100 N. 4th Street in El Centro.
Special evening prayer services sponsored by the Imperial County National Day of Prayer Task Force  took place at three separate locations around the valley, all following the theme ‘Prayer for such a time as this’.
A ‘Youth Prayer Experience’ for young people was at 6:30 p.m. at Faith Assembly in Imperial, located at 320 S. J Street.
‘A Concert of Prayer’ began at 7 p.m. at the Southwest Performing Arts Center, 2001 Ocotillo Dr. in El Centro, and featureed six pastors from around the valley reading scripture and leading prayers as well as inspirational music from Christ Community Church praise band, led by Grisel Colace.
A Spanish-language prayer event also began at 7 p.m. at the Salvation Monument in Calexico’s Rockwood Park.
The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress in 1952 as a day when people are asked to ‘turn to God in prayer and meditation’.
On April 17, 1952 president Harry S. Truman signed a bill requiring each following president to declare the observance of the National Day of Prayer each year, but that could soon come to an end.
On October 3, 2003, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued in order to challenge the designation of a National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional under the first amendment, which guarantees separation of church and state. The ‘Establishment Clause’ in the First Amendment states that “the U.S. Congress may not pass any laws enforcing religious observances.”
On April 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the statue establishing the National Day of Prayer was indeed unconstitutional and called it ‘an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.’
On April 22, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a notice to appeal the ruling, and Crabb has agreed to stay the ruling pending completion of the appeals process


By Jim and Betty Predmore
Turning Point Ministries hosted it’s annual banquet on Friday, April 30th at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse in El Centro. People from throughout Imperial Valley showed their support of this ministry by attending this event.  Many of the valley’s pastors were in attendance to support Pastor Mike Johnson and be a part of the evening.
Keynote speaker for the evening was Pastor Mike Johnson, who is the Director of Turning Point Ministries.  It was unclear up until the last day whether Johnson would be able to speak, since  he underwent a biopsy on Wednesday due to his recent diagnosis for stomach cancer.  He  was able to make it back home by Thursday, and was able to attend the banquet and give a very moving and motivating message.  He also took the opportunity to give thanks to all who support the ministry of Turning Point, especially Norman Chandler and Melissa Cordova, who run the men’s and women’s homes.
Chandler gave some interesting statistics on how many men have been affected by Turning Point Ministries.  According to Norman, approximately 130 men per year enter the Men’s Home facility.  Although not everyone completes the program, he estimates that at least 40 men will graduate from the program this year.
Mr. Johnson returned to the podium to give an inspiring message about the Prodigal Son.  He related this message to his own life, and how he has been affected by this new diagnosis for cancer.  He noted that it is easy to ask “Why Me?” when something drastic affects your life, but the real question is “Why Not Me?”  He went on to state that his faith in the Lord is what gets him through, and he hopes to reach other cancer patients with this same message of faith, and give them a new hope and a new outlook on life.
This inspiring message, along with wonderful music from the men’s and women’s choir, and a delicious meal made for a wonderful evening of fellowship for all who attended.


Blythe, Calif. – Salvador Rayas-Cano, a convicted sex offender illegally present in the U.S., was arrested near Blythe, Calif., on Tuesday morning by U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Sector.

Border Patrol agents encountered Rayas Tuesday just before noon. Rayas told agents that he was illegally present in the U.S., and that he had been previously deported. The agents arrested Rayas and transported him to the Blythe Border Patrol station for processing.

Rayas has a previous conviction as a sex offender for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 and he has previously been deported. Rayas failed to register as a sex offender and his whereabouts has been unknown since 1989.

Rayas will be prosecuted for illegally re-entering the United States after deportation and will be subsequently deported back to Mexico.

The apprehension and deportation of convicted sex offenders and other dangerous criminals is one of the ways the U.S. Border Patrol helps to improve the quality of life in our communities along the border.

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Tucson Sector foiled three separate smuggling attempts yesterday, netting more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $1.7 million.

Two of the incidents occurred within eight hours of each other in the Nogales Station’s area of responsibility. In the morning hours, an agent operating a Mobile Surveillance System detected a suspicious vehicle in a remote area 10 miles east of Nogales. Agents responded and encountered an abandoned truck containing 38 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 1,000 pounds. The bundles, valued at more than $858,000, were taken to the Nogales Station for processing. The agent operating the MSS reported seeing two occupants exit the vehicle and flee into Mexico.

Later, agents from the same station stopped a suspicious vehicle east of Nogales but the driver and a passenger fled on foot as agents approached. Inside the vehicle, agents discovered 12 bundles of marijuana. Agents located the suspects a short time later. The marijuana, weighing more than 500 pounds and with an estimated value of $424,000, was taken to the Nogales Station for processing. The two occupants are being held for prosecution.

Late yesterday evening, agents assigned to the Ajo Station discovered 13 bundles of marijuana on a known smuggling trail near Alamo Canyon Road. Agents were patrolling the area when they heard several people running. When agents responded to the location of the noise, they discovered 12 bundles of marijuana. Agents searched the area in an attempt to locate subjects associated with the load, but none were found. The abandoned marijuana, weighing more than 500 pounds and valued at approximately $470,000, was taken to the Ajo Station for processing.

Agents assigned to Tucson sector are committed to reducing the flow of illegal contraband into the country and improving the quality of life for their communities. Technology, such as the MSS, improves the capabilities of agents patrolling in the field. By enhancing agent effectiveness, the Border Patrol can more rapidly identify threats and bring them to an appropriate law enforcement resolution.

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