From the daily archives: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

David, Diana, and their granddaughter

The community of Holtville, along with the rest of the Imperial Valley, is coming together to support the family of Pastor David Strong during his illness.  David retired this year due to medical reasons from the Holtville Unified School District, where he was a teacher for 31 years.  He also coached the Cross Country/Track teams at Holtville High School for 12 years.  He and his wife Diana raised their son Michael and daughter Sarah in Holtville, where David has also been the Pastor of Calvary Chapel for 25 years.  This past year has been a devastating year to this family, and now the community is rallying to support a man who has given so much to Holtville, and especially to the young people of Holtville.

According to Diana, David began experiencing aching bones and joints about three years ago, mostly after his runs with the track team.  About a year ago, his symptoms took on a rapid progression, and after much testing, he was diagnosed with Erdhiem-Chester Disease.  There are less than 200 diagnosed cases of ECD in the world, and it is extremely difficult to treat.  There is no cure for this disease which causes the white blood cells to multiply and attack the major organs of the body, as well as the bones.  David is suffering the debilitating effects of this dreadful disease and is currently at Carmel Mountain Rehabilitation Center in San Diego.  He is receiving chemotherapy for this disease which acts like a cancer and autoimmune disease.  Since the patients who are diagnosed with ECD rarely live long enough to do any testing of medications and treatments, all treatments, including chemotherapy, are considered experimental, and therefore not reimbursed by the insurance company.  There is also a question as to whether the insurance will continue to pay for the physical, occupational, and speech therapy after the end of this week.  If refused, Diana states that she will bring David back home, where she will need to hire an assistant to help with his medical care.  This, too, will not be covered by insurance.

Special accounts for the Strong family have been set up at all Sun Community Federal Credit Union locations.  There will also be a bake sale at the Turning Point Ministries Car Wash in Holtville on Saturday morning, of which all proceeds will go to the Strong family.  T-shirts designed by Bruce DeLoach are also available at the Holtville Chamber of Commerce for $20, and 100% of the proceeds will be given to the family of Pastor Strong to help with these mounting expenses.

According to Diana, “We are trying to stay strong.  We know that God does all things for a purpose, and we are just praying that His will be done.”  Doctors have been amazed at the strong faith of this family who is facing such sorrow and financial difficulty and Diana says she is glad that they have been able to show their faith and true love for the Lord during this difficult time.  She also stated that they hope they can get the awareness raised about ECD so that other patients might get a quicker diagnosis, and there might be time for some medical trials to develop an effective treatment for the disease.

A special fund has been set up for David Strong and his family at Sun Community Federal Credit Union. Please write checks out to “David Strong Medical Fund” and deliver or mail to any branch of the credit union.

Anyone interested in supporting the Strong family can make a donation at any Sun Community location.

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By Bob Hurst

Josh Johnson joined an elite group on Sunday.

The Florida Marlins pitcher allowed one run, a homer to Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, in a 4-1 win, giving him eight straight games of giving up one run or less. That tied him with four others who have done it in a single season since 1900, while two have done it more times.

Johnson (8-2, 1.80 ERA) struck out nine with no walks while allowing six hits in eight innings.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in either league,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

In the top of the eighth inning on Sunday, Johnson got Evan Longoria to pop up for the third out with runners on first and third.

“J.J., that’s why he’s your No. 1 guy,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s the ace.”

Johnson’s ERA during his streak is 0.62. Since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in July 2008, he is 30-8 with a 2.95 ERA.

On Sunday, Johnson threw 117 pitches, 87 for strikes.

“I knew the bullpen got taxed (Saturday night),” Johnson said. “I wanted to throw the least amount of pitches. “A couple of guys said, ‘Let’s go quick today.’ When you start finding a rhythm, things start to click.”

Bob Gibson had the most consecutive starts of allowing one run or less with 11 in 1968. Jack Coombs had 10 in 1910.

Dodgers fall in Manny’s return to Boston: Manny Ramirez didn’t flop in his first trip back to Boston since being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago. But the Dodgers did, losing all three games at Fenway Park last weekend.

Ramirez went 5-for-12 in the series, with a homer and RBI, a walk, stolen base and three runs scored. He was greeted warmly by the Red Sox, but received a mix of boos and cheers from the fans.

“Manny did so many good things the longer he played here,” said Boston’s David Ortiz, who hit one of three Red Sox home runs in Friday’s 10-6 win. “All he did was put up numbers.”

Ramirez had a hit in the opener, and two hits in each of the final two games.

“He seemed fine,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after Friday’s game. “He didn’t seem edgy at all. He did all the things he’d normally do. He kidded about it a couple of times during the week, but nothing that indicated to me that he wasn’t looking forward to it.”

And for the fans who booed Ramirez?

“I certainly hope they understand how much Manny meant to this club, and they won two World Series with him,” Torre said.

Strasburg an All-Star? Washington Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg has only three major league starts under his belt, but he is pitching like an All-Star.

Strasburg is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. He is projected to get four more starts before the July 13 All-Star Game in Anaheim.

“He has to earn it, so we will wait and see,” said Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who will be involved in selecting the National League’s pitching staff, to be announced on July 4. “If he keeps pitching like he has, I’m sure his name is going to come up. But you also don’t want to leave anyone off who deserves it.”

StatsWatch: There are 23 starting pitchers with an Earned Run Average under 3.00. That compares to just 11 at the end of last season. Here are the top 10 starters with the lowest ERA in the major leagues this season (at least 69.2 innings pitched):

Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies, 1.15

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals, 1.59

Josh Johnson, Marlins, 1.80

Matt Cain, Giants, 2.16

Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, 2.23

Tim Hudson, Braves, 2.34

Roy Halladay, Phillies, 2.43

David Price, Rays, 2.45

Doug Fister, Mariners, 2.45

Clay Buchholz, Red Sox, 2.47

Diamond Notes: Interleague competition has been tough on the Dodgers so far. They were 2-7 going into this week’s series against the Angels, with their only wins coming against Detroit. They will face the Yankees at Dodger Stadium this weekend. The Dodgers interleague opponents (Tigers, Angels, Red Sox and Yankees) had a combined record of 163-118 at the start of this week…Stuart Sternberg, owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, wants to explore potential sites for a new stadium throughout the Tampa Bay area. “Baseball will not work long term in downtown St. Petersburg,” Sternberg said. Although the team’s lease at Tropicana Field does not expire until 2027, Sternberg wants the club to be playing elsewhere by then. The Rays rank 23rd in the majors in home attendance, averaging 22,301 per game, despite having baseball’s best record for much of the season…Toronto cut third baseman Edwin Encarnacion less than a year after acquiring him from Cincinnati. Encarnacion hit .200 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs. The Reds received third baseman Scott Rolen in the trade. Rolen is batting .299 with 15 homers, 46 RBIs.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Andrade port of entry arrested a Mexican citizen after discovering 28 pounds of cocaine hidden in the vehicle he was driving.   The incident occurred on Thursday, June 17, at about 7 p.m. when a CBP Officer conducting vehicle primary inspections referred the driver, an 18-year-old male, to vehicle secondary for further investigation.           In secondary, CBP officers conducted an intensive inspection that included a canine team on the silver 1995 Chevy Camaro and discovered 10 wrapped packages of cocaine hidden in a specially built compartment in the floor of the vehicle.  The narcotic load has a street value of $224,000.   The driver, a lawful permanent resident of Wellton, Ariz., was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and transported to the Imperial County Jail pending arraignment.       According to Port Director Ray Nagy, he is pleased with the vigilance of the CBP officers working at the Andrade port of entry.   “I am very proud of the dedication displayed by these officers”, he said. “They are committed in keeping dangerous narcotics from reaching our communities.”   CBP seized both the vehicle and narcotics.

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