From the daily archives: Friday, May 14, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010, we held our annual scholarship luncheon. The meeting  was called to order at 12:00 P.M. The pledge of allegiance was recited followed by the singing of God Bless America accompanied by Wanda Layton, Linda Reschert gave an inspiration prior to the serving of lunch.
Scholarship winners were La Shay Cummings winner of the nursing scholarship and John Gentry winner of the High School scholarship. Their family members were introduced and each winner gave us a short statement of their goals. La Shay has one more year of her nursing program and John stated that he would be attending Grossmont College to pursue a degree to teach history. Many thanks to Ellen Burke for continuing to chair this event.
Martha read the treasurer’s report which sounds pretty good. Hopefully by the June meeting we will be able to give a significant boost to the friends of the library.
Certificates of appreciation were given to members of long standing. The club received a 100 year certificate from the district and the following ladies received certificates:
Ellen Burke                   45 years
Madeline Muller           32 years
Margueritte Muller        48 years
Virginia     Munger          48 years
Margaret Sperber          50 years
Theresa Sturges            50 years
Dorothy Kelly              43 years
Jewel Vencil                 50 years
Roseanne Bornt            33 years
Ida Claybrook               38 years
Marie Crabtree             45 years
Hilda Durer                  50 years
Betty Jo Gibbs              30 years
Opal Immel                  30 years
Congratulations to all.
Betty Jo introduced her guests Mrs. Joyce Swan and her friend and Mrs Swan gave a short program about a touring company that has a tour planned to explore the Southwestern American Parks and monuments. The cost for two would be $1598 and for singles $1989. The cost includes Hotels and 18 meals with tax and tip included as well as entry fees for all parks and monuments. The Deluxe motor coach will come to Holtville to pick you up and drop you off. The dates of the tour are Sept 7-15th. If you are interested call Joyce Swan at 1-619-561-8506.
Beginners bridge is still meeting Wed. Evenings 5:30 to ?
Thursday Bridge 2nd and 4th Thursdays.
Bridge Marathon winners will be announced in June
Our last fund raiser of the year will be May 22, 2010. This is a card party luncheon with chicken foot for the non bridge, or canasta players. This will be our usual pot luck.
The 8th grade speech contest will be Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 1:30. Jack Kelly and Ellen Burke have volunteered to judge. We could use one or two more.
Carol Hann won the 50/50 and donated her money back to the scholarship fund.
Board meeting will be May 25th at 9:30.
Our miniature of the club house will be taken to the San Diego Fair June 5, 2010.
Tea Committee for May was Deb Thornburg, Joanie, Frankie Wiel, Mary Helen Dollente and Ellen Burke.


By Luke Phillips

Holtville residents will soon see the flag flying high over Holt Park once again, as plans are set in motion to replace the old flag pole that was damaged in Easter Sunday’s 7.2 earthquake.
At their meeting Monday, the Holtville City Council approved a plan that will move the location of the flagpole a few yards to the west to accommodate future plans to expand Holtville’s veterans’ memorial.
“We’re thinking in terms of making more of a little plaza, a veterans plaza if you will,” said Holtville Public Works Manager Gerry Peacher. “Right now the memorial that we have there is full. There’s no room for anymore names.”
The design chosen by the council will include a new stamped concrete foundation, arranged to accommodate the future expansion of the veterans’ memorial,
and a brand-new 125-foot flagpole, complete with flag, at a cost of just over $38,000.
“It’s a turnkey operation, as they say,” said Peacher.
The height of the new flagpole was a matter of some contention at the council meeting. Plans originally brought to the council included a 100-foot pole, 25 feet shorter than the original. Peacher told the council the new height was chosen because of maintenance considerations.
“It makes it much easier for maintenance,” Peacher said. “There are plenty of companies around here that have cranes that are capable of reaching that height. With a 125-foot pole, it’s hard to find them. They’re not local and you’ve got the bring them in from outside, and it’s very costly.”
City manager Laura Fischer reminded the council that with the new pole’s internal halyard system, maintenance would be less of an issue. With the internal halyard system, all of the flag’s mechanisms are inside the flagpole itself, which reduces damages during high winds.
“The argument that it’s more difficult to repair it at 125 feet is a little bit discounted when you consider that this new halyard pole won’t break as often and has internal mechanisms,” she said. “You do have that option as well, because you will have more modern technology.”
Despite the assurances of reduced maintenance problems, some at the meeting were still outspoken against putting the pole back to it’s original height.
“I have a great concern for this extra 25 feet in the destruction of flags,” council member Jerry Brittsan said, “and not only that, but this wench concept, cranking that up another 25 feet is going to add to the size of the wench and you’re going to add to the size of the problem. You’re building yourself a problem right in the unit with it.”
City Treasurer Pete Mellinger also spoke out against the 125 pole.
“Speaking as city treasurer, I strongly recommend the 100 foot flag pole,” Mellinger said. “Over the years that 125 feet has been a pain in the neck for the city, because locally we don’t have people that can reach the 125 feet. So I’m going to speak in favor of the 100-foot flag pole.”
Other members of the council expressed their support for the extra 25 feet.
“If we lower it, I won’t be able to see it from my back yard,” Layton joked.
Ultimately the council voted 4-1 to approve restoring the pole to it’s original height, with council member Brittsan dissenting.
Fischer spoke of the possibility of hold a ribbon cutting for the new flag pole on the fourth of July.
“We really want to get that back in place and we were hoping that maybe we could do something for the Fourth of July,” Fischer said. “Since it would be a patriotic holiday and maybe we could have a little grand opening or presentation. We think we can.


By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council decided Monday to continue to prepare a Request for Proposals for waste hauling services in the city, and to do so without the help of an outside consultant.
The city’s contract with Allied Waste expired in April and the city has been scrambling to get a new agreement in place. In February, the council approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to put together an RFP for trash hauling services, consisting of council members Bianca Padilla and Jerry Brittsan, along with city staff members Gerry Peacher, Rosa Ramirez and city manager Laura Fischer.
Fischer says that the idea of looking into hiring a consultant was brought up in an ad hoc committee meeting by council member Brittsan. Fischer says that Brittsan wanted to see the numbers, but didn’t necessarily support hiring the consultant.
“It was just something that we wanted to look at to see if it was worth the money,” Fischer said.
In her report to the council, Fischer estimated the cost of hiring Hilton Farnkopt & Hobson to manage the RFP process at $94,000. The item was included on the council’s agenda Monday, but was ultimately voted down 4-1.
Council member Padilla was the one dissenting vote, continuing her support for re-negotiating exclusively with Allied Waste.
“I have confidence that we could get the very best rates through negotiation,” Padilla said. “Not to say that I don’t think we could get great rates through the bidding process, but I think there are some points that make negotiation favorable. I think it’s easier for us, and I think it saves us some money.”
Council member Brittsan, who originally requested information on hiring a consultant, was outspoken on his opposition to the idea after seeing the numbers.
“I wouldn’t spend a dime for a consultant,” Brittsan said. “The idea of not having the time or skills is puzzling to me, because we have nothing but time, and skills are not developed by hiring consultants.”
Fischer says that while the process of developing the RFP through the ad hoc committee has been slow and a ‘daunting task’, she has confidence that the committee will be able to complete the job.
“We have a good ad hoc committee,” Fischer said, “but the key for me is to really engage the city attorney a little more in the process and go to him with our questions about the contract.”
Fischer says that incorporating new laws and regulations into the contract has slowed the process, a problem that she hopes to solve with more involvement from city attorney Steve Walker.
“My next action will definitely be to engage the city attorney a little more,” she said.


Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico, Calif., ports of entry seized more than $1.1 million worth of cocaine in two separate incidents.

CBP officers arrested a 28-year-old male U.S. citizen Tuesday morning at the Calexico Downtown Port of Entry after they found 73 pounds of cocaine in the vehicle he was driving when he entered the United States.

A CBP officer conducting vehicle primary inspections detected anomalies with the SUV during the examination. The officer requested a canine screening and the detector dog alerted to the rear end area of the vehicle. The driver and vehicle were escorted to the secondary examination area for further inspection.

An intensive inspection that included a Portable Contraband Detector or “Buster,” that can locate density anomalies, led officers to the discovery of 28 packages concealed inside the spare tire. The estimated street value of the narcotic is $584,000.

CBP officers turned over the driver, a resident of Coachella, Calif., to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for further investigation on the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The second seizure occurred later the same morning at the Calexico East Port of Entry when officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team escorted a 55-year-old male U.S. citizen to the secondary examination area after a detector dog alerted to his vehicle.

An intensive inspection of the 2008 sedan led officers to the discovery of 23 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside the rocker panels. The drugs weighed 67 pounds and had a street value of $536,000.

CBP officers arrested the driver, a resident of Yuma, Ariz., and transferred him to the custody ICE agents.

In both incidents, the drivers were transported to the Imperial Country jail where they are pending arraignment. CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.


Five Others Arrested On Various Charges

San Luis, Ariz — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP) at the San Luis Port of Entry seized more than $1.6 million worth of marijuana in three separate cases and arrested four on immigration violations.

On May 9th, two juveniles were arrested for attempting to smuggle marijuana strapped to their bodies. The first attempt was by a 15-year-old girl who was found to have more than five pounds of marijuana taped to her midsection. The second attempt was by a 16-year-old boy who had two pounds of marijuana taped to his legs and an outstanding warrant for absconding while on probation.

Both juveniles were arrested and turned over to the San Luis, AZ Police Department along with the seized marijuana.

The marijuana has an estimated street value of $72,000.00

On May 7th, CBP officers referred a 24-year-old man driving a GMC S-15 truck to the secondary inspection area where nearly 170 pounds of marijuana was found hidden within the truck bed. A narcotic detector dog and a density meter were used in the inspection.

The man was immediately arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The marijuana has an estimated street value of $1,530,000.00

On May 8th, an arrest was made of a 29-year-old woman on who had an outstanding warrant originating from the San Luis, AZ court for the fraudulent use of a credit card and theft. The woman was arrested and turned over to the San Luis Police Department.

The first of the immigration violations cases occurred on the same day when a 29-year-old Mexican national attempted to pose as a United States citizen by presenting a U.S. passport to the primary CBP officer. The officer noticed the person did not resemble the photo on the document and immediately arrested the man. Further checks revealed the man had prior unsuccessful attempts into the U.S.

The second immigration violation occurred when a 54-year-old man for claimed to be a United States citizen. The primary officer referred the man into the office for further inspection where it was discovered through database queries that he was in fact a Mexican national and had arrests for prior deportations.

Lastly, the third immigration violation occurred when a 40-year-old woman attempted to enter the country with a (temporary) Legal Permanent Resident document. The primary officer noticed irregularities in the card and referred her to the office. Upon closer examination, the officers arrested the woman after they determined the document presented was fraudulent.

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