From the daily archives: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chris Furguson

Brittney Araujo, 16 from Holtville, makes a batch of cotton candy with Spreckels Production Manager Jay Creiglow at the annual Sugar Festival in Brawley. Spreckels also sponsored a coloring contest and gave balloons to kids. Chris Furguson Photo.

On Saturday, June 12, around a hundred people enjoyed a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s at the North Plaza Park when the Brawley Main Street Association held the sixth annual Spreckels Sugar Festival.
The sugar festival, which is title sponsored by the sugar production plant south of the city, celebrates the sugar beet industry in the north end of the county.
In addition to the title sponsorship, Spreckels Sugar provided free cotton candy to attendees and sponsored a coloring contest for kids as well as free balloons.
“We’re really happy to sponsor this event,” said Spreckels Safety Manager Heidi Brightly.
Entertainment for the event was provided by Turie and the Crew, a local multi-genre band that plays at venues and events throughout the Valley.  Turie Duran, the leader of the group and a long time area musician, also offers guitar lessons in Brawley.
The Brawley plant, located at the corner of Keystone Road and Highway 86, is the only remaining sugar processing plant in California.  The former Holly Sugar plant processes around 25,000 acres of sugar beets every year.
Sugar production from beets in the Imperial Valley is almost double the national average and has reached world record levels in recent years, with some acres yielding 60 tons or more of sugar beets and 22,000 pounds of sugar after processing.
Due to the valley’s extreme heat during harvest season, the plant only accepts what it can process in 24 hours, allowing some fields an extra two to three months of growing time which aids in sugar production.
The plant was purchased by the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in 2005.  The plant was renamed Spreckles Sugar Company after a previous plant that Holly Sugar purchased in 1996.
The events sponsored by the Main Stree Association and the Brawley Chamber of Commerce are designed to bring attention to the downtown Brawley area.
The next Main Street Association event will be the 1950’s themed “Happy Days in the Park” on October 2, 2010.


CALEXICO, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry over the weekend stopped two significant narcotic smuggling attempts worth $391,000.   The first seizure occurred on Friday, June 11, at about 2:00 p.m. when CBP officers arrested a 25-year-old female U.S. citizen after they discovered 15 packages of cocaine concealed in a specially built floor compartment of the black 2003 Saturn Ion she was driving.   During the primary interview, the officer noticed discrepancies with the driver’s story and referred her and the vehicle to the secondary lot for a more in-depth investigation.   An intensive examination that included a canine screening led officers to the wrapped packages of cocaine weighing 34 pounds and with a street value of $272,000.    The driver, a resident of Rosarito, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further processing.   The second seizure occurred on Saturday, June 12, at about 3:00 p.m. when officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET), conducting enforcement operations, escorted a 37-year-old female Mexican citizen to vehicle secondary after a detector dog alerted to her vehicle as she waited in line for inspection.     An intensive examination of the green 1995 Honda Odyssey revealed 44 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed inside all four tires of the van.  The weight of the marijuana is 119 pounds with a street value of $119,000.   The driver, a resident of Mexicali, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of ICE agents for further processing.    In both incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.

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