From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SAN DIEGO, California (May 21, 2010)— San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was awarded $500,000 by the Walmart Foundation’s America Works initiative to expand two key workforce training programs aligned with the needs of growing industries across San Diego and Imperial counties. America Works is a new national initiative sponsored by the Walmart Foundation that supports regional approaches to developing a skilled workforce. The EDC was one of only seven organizations nationwide to receive this award, and was selected because the two training programs are part of a larger regional economic development strategy—the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region Initiative.

EDC, together with San Diego Workforce Partnership, will better align workforce development needs with economic development priorities, and better integrate workforce development systems across the region through training programs for high-demand jobs in healthcare and machinist occupations.

”The residents of the southern part of San Diego County often do not have access to training and career pathways that lead to living wage jobs,” said Chuck Flacks, director of research and policy for San Diego Workforce Partnership. “The America Works grant will help train these residents for employment in healthcare, bringing the needed technical and bilingual skills to the industry, still one of the region’s fastest-growing sectors.”

“Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to provide opportunities for those who are out of work and facing tough times,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “These grants will support people across the country to gain the necessary life and job skills to obtain long term employment.”

EDC’s Dr. Christina Luhn will help implement a machinist training program for Imperial County residents, serving as a liaison between the training programs and stakeholders. “The Cali Baja Mega-Region Initiative positions the greater region of San Diego and Imperial counties for business investment in the region,” explains Dr. Luhn. “A strong workforce is essential to attracting the kinds of key industries that have the potential to grow here.”

“In addition to collaborating with the Walmart Foundation’s America Works grant, we have agreed to a formal alliance with the San Diego Workforce Partnership further integrating our workforce and economic development strategies,” said Lauree Sahba, chief operating officer for EDC.

To find out more about the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region Initiative, visit the website at

EDC is supported by more than 150 of San Diego’s largest companies and most influential business leaders. The group strengthens San Diego’s business climate and maximizes its economic success through two key programs, business development and policy. The business development program supports corporate outreach and retention, while nurturing emerging industries and attracting new corporate investment through targeted marketing initiatives. The policy program focuses on creating a competitive business climate for the region through workforce development initiatives and building the infrastructure to support 21st century industries.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit


Challenger Little League will be sponsoring the home run derby for registered little league players valley wide.

Our invitation is for registered players of ages 10-11-12.

Home run derby will be held this year at Frazier Field 1150 6th street, El Centro, and ca

Registration for the home run derby will start at 8am on May 29th 2010

First 100 players will be eligible to participate and receive prizes and a tee shirt.

Prizes and a drawing will be held through out the morning.

Food and drinks will also be available to the public.

This event is possible thru the generous donations of private business and individuals through out the Imperial Valley who have cared to sponsor our team and make this event a reality. Thank you all.


EL CENTRO, Calif. – May 25, 2010 – El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) has become the first hospital in the Imperial Valley to invest in the da Vinci Si HD surgical system highlighting the hospital’s dedication to provide state-of-the-art healthcare excellence to the communities of Imperial Valley.

The da Vinci Si HD robotic surgical system allows for precision, minimally invasive surgery using the most up-to-date technology available, including high-definition video. The machine, seen in an episode of ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy, is operated by certified surgeons to perform various procedures.

ECRMC will begin using the machine immediately offering a new solution to patients’ surgical needs. “We are excited to have the da Vinci at ECRMC,” said Dr. Elias Moukarzel, chief of staff at ECRMC. “All surgeons are thrilled to have it available for the benefit of our patients.”

A variety of procedures within Urology, Cardiology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Ear/Nose/Throat and General surgery can be performed safely and less intrusively with the surgical system than with traditional surgical processes. Admissions and insurance procedures remain the same as with any surgical procedures.

“The da Vinci Si HD surgical system gives our patients options with regards to surgery,” added Dr. Moukarzel. “ECRMC is committed to providing the top-of-the-line in surgical tools to the Imperial Valley, the machine is just that and we are proud to be the first in the Valley to offer it.”

Only a handful of larger facilities in the state offer the da Vinci Si HD robotic surgical system, placing ECMRC among them with regards to the latest in surgical care. “Having the system available at ECRMC means local residents will no longer have to travel outside of the Valley for sophisticated procedures,” said David Green, CEO for ECRMC. “Quality care is available in the convenience of your own backyard.”


El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) is a licensed 165-bed general acute care facility located in El Centro, Calif. ECRMC is committed to providing the community with high quality healthcare as reflected in its mission statement: “To Provide Healthcare Excellence For The Imperial Valley.”

ECRMC is moving forward with the planning and development of the hospital expansion project that will replace the older portion of the hospital. In addition, the hospital is developing a state-of-the-art facility to meet the needs of the Imperial Valley and provide an advanced healthcare facility and service, helping ECRMC continue to achieve it’s goal of providing excellence in healthcare.

Recent additions to the hospital include the opening of the Wound Care Center; the implementation of the Hospitalist Program; the Asthma and Diabetes Program; and the Children’s Specialist Program. A new Outpatient Center is A new Outpatient Center is planned in order to continue excellent service within the local community.


By Bob Hurst

The way the Toronto Blue Jays are pounding the ball, they might just make things a little sticky for contenders in the American League East, and at least for the league’s wild-card contenders.

Toronto is still in the hunt in its division thanks to its run scoring and slugging capabilities. The Blue Jays went into Tuesday’s game leading the major leagues in runs with 247; home runs with 76; total bases with 754 and in slugging percentage at .467.

In the past two weeks, the Jays won games by scores of 16-10 over Texas, 11-2 over Minnesota and 12-4 over Arizona. In the game against the Diamondbacks, Toronto notched a season-high 17 hits.

Edwin Encarnacion, who was out for a month with a shoulder injury, joined the power bandwagon over the weekend at Arizona. He hit five home runs in the series, including three on Friday and a two-run shot on Sunday.

“I got hot in this series and I’ll just keep working,” said Encarnacion, who went 7-for-19 with six homers and 11 RBIs since his return from the disabled list on May 17.

Jose Bautista had a two-run homer on Sunday, and led the majors in that department with 15 after Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

“They seem to catch the momentum,” said Diamondbacks starter Billy Buckner on Sunday. “They hit together. It was contagious for them.”

The Blue Jays hit 10 home runs in the three games against Arizona before starting off this week with a 6-0 homerless win over the Angels on Monday.

Bautista was tied for fourth in the majors with 39 RBIs. Vernon Wells (11 HR, 33 RBI) and Alex Gonzalez (10 HR, 30 RBI) have also been major offensive contributors for the Blue Jays.

If Toronto is to make a run for the postseason, it will have to do something about its pitching. The Jays rank 18th in baseball with a 4.26 ERA. But for now, they’ll keep circling the bases, and aggravating opposing pitchers.

Phils lead attendance ladder: Just past the first quarter of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies are leading the major leagues in home attendance with an average of 45,114 fans per game. The defending National League champions are followed by the World Series champion New York Yankees, who are second with a 44,956 average.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are third (43,712); St. Louis fourth (39,461) and the Los Angeles Angels fifth (39,303).

Minnesota, which opened a new open-air stadium this season, ranks sixth with an average of 38,715 fans per game. The Chicago Cubs (38,572), Boston (37,519), San Francisco (36,220) and Milwaukee (35,471) round out the top 10.

In Florida, where regular-season baseball has always had trouble drawing fans, Tampa Bay comes in at 21st with an average of 22,755, which is poor considering the Rays have the best record in the majors. The Marlins are 27th at 17,468.

Toronto, another team with a winning record, is 29th in attendance at 16,267 while Cleveland is last with a 15,494 average.

StatsWatch: Who’s knocking it out of the ballpark? Here are baseball’s home run leaders (through Tuesday) —

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, 15

Paul Konerko, White Sox, 14

Ty Wigginton, Orioles, 13

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks, 12

Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers, 12

Dan Uggla, Marlins, 12

Jose Guillen, Royals, 11

Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, 11

Justin Morneau, Twins, 11

Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 11

Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks, 11

Fun Fact: When David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis homered in Monday’s game for the Red Sox, it tied the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada for the most times a pair of AL teammates have hit a home run in the same game with 19.

Diamond Notes: Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will likely return to the rotation next week after spending a month in the bullpen. Zambrano, who threw 75 pitches in a simulated game on Monday, was moved to relief in an effort to plug up the leak in the set-up man’s role. But Zambrano never embraced the move, and results were mixed…After a slow start, Boston slugger David Ortiz is back in the groove, and helping the Red Sox win. Ortiz had a two-run double in Boston’s 2-0 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. It was the fifth win in six games for the Red Sox. Ortiz hit five homers and knocked in 14 runs during a 10-game stretch. He is batting .258 after hitting just .185 with four homers and 11 RBIs on May 10.

Copyright © 2010  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo facility seized more than half a ton of marijuana Monday, after breaking apart cement fixtures to access the packages hidden inside.

Just before 5 p.m. on May 24, a driver with a truck carrying a shipment of cement tabletops, benches, and other furniture and cement decorative blocks, pillars, and tiles applied for entry into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa cargo facility.

After officers X-rayed the truck and cargo, they sent the conveyance to the dock for a more intensive examination.

A CBP officer roving the dock with her narcotic detection dog received an alert from the canine, reacting to the cement items in the truck.

Officers unloaded the shipment and drilled into one of the cement articles, discovering marijuana hidden inside.

After breaking apart various cement items from the shipment, officers found 140 packages of marijuana, weighing 1,335 pounds, with an estimated value of $667,500.

CBP officers turned over custody of the driver, a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The driver is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

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