From the daily archives: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Congressman Bob Filner today announced Brawley Municipal Airport will receive $169,594 from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“I’m proud to announce Brawley Municipal Airport will receive much needed federal funds to make repairs to ensure the safety of the airport,” said Congressman Filner.

The grant will provide federal funding for the rehabilitation of the aircraft parking apron at Brawley Municipal Airport.  The project consists of slurry sealing and marking of the apron pavement.  The repairs are necessary to preserve the service life of the pavement and to enhance the safety of aircraft operations.


By Luke Phillips

Bright lights will fill the skies of the Imperial Valley once again this Sunday as the 20th Annual Freedom Fest at Imperial Valley College helps us celebrate the independence of our nation.

Freedom Fest Committee Chairman Gene Brister says that although this is the 20th Anniversary of Freedom Fest, which started in 1991, the committee has decided to focus instead on the anniversary of our entire country.

“In these economic times, we felt that it was more important to focus on the nation’s anniversary, and the fact that it’s the 65th Anniversary of the end of World War II, and the real meaning of what the Fourth of July is,” Brister said. “We’re truly blessed to live in this great country.”

The fun will begin at 6 p.m., Sunday, July 4 at the Imperial Valley College campus with the NAF Color Guard’s presentation of the flag, and the singing of the national anthem.    The tradition of starting the show with the color guard began at the very first Freedom Fest in 1991 as a way of welcoming troops home from the Gulf War.

“The color guard has always kind of been the center piece of the show,” Brister said. “They’ll be there for the official starting.”

Before the fireworks start, visitors will have the chance to check out a slew of static displays.

New this year, the Desert Cruisers Car Club will be showing off 14 custom cars and will also have plenty of games for the kids. The club will host contests for apple bobbing, watermelon eating, hula hoop, and bubblegum blowing. All of the contests are free to enter and prizes will be provided while supplies last.

The U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs will both be showing vehicles from their off-road fleets including Hummers and other long-travel, off-road vehicles, a part of the show that Brister says children especially enjoy.

“The kids really love it,” he said. “It’s such a popular thing.”

Also taking place before the fireworks show this year will be another new event.

Held separately, but in conjunction with Freedom Fest, the first-ever Music Fest was organized by the Imperial Valley College Foundation as a fundraiser to help raise money for IVC’s community music programs.

The event will be held at the IVC gym and will cost $5. All money raised will go toward funding the Imperial Valley Master Chorale, Community Band, the Imperial Valley Symphony and Valley Jazz, all of which will be performing.

Music Fest will begin at 6 p.m. and will be over in time for the Freedom Fest fireworks show. Tickets are available at Clark Baker Music in El Centro, at The Rock café in Brawley or at the door. Children 12 and under are free.

The fireworks show, provided again this year by San Diego company Fireworks America, will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Brister says that, thanks to the company, this year’s show will have a little something extra. He says Fireworks America donated 15 extra 8-inch shells that will be fired extremely high into the atmosphere and fill the sky with “a lot of colors and special effects.”

“They are such a patriotic company,” Brister said. “They provided these 15 8-inch shells as an expression of respect for the people of the Imperial Valley after the big earthquake and all. It was a gift from them to the Imperial Valley. They are a great company.”

Brister says that Freedom Fest’s ’Iron Man Pyro Crew’ has been working hard to get the display set up and ready for the big night, working all night long to avoid the heat of the day.

“It would just be impractical to have them out there working in the day time,” Brister said. “They couldn’t really do it. They have to do it at night.”

The shells, provided by Fireworks America, will be fired by local resident Romy Medina.

KXO radio will provide professionally choreographed music to go along with the fireworks show on FM 107.5.

The Imperial Valley Tennis Club will be providing free rickshaw rides from the parking lot to the event, but Brister says they won’t be able to provide rides back to the lot because of safety issues.

There is no alcohol and no barbecues allowed at the event, but outside food is not a problem.

“People like to bring picnic baskets, and we don’t have a problem with that,” Brister said. “Bring some lawn chairs, some blankets and a radio tuned to 107.5 FM, and enjoy a family evening.”

The Woman’s Improvement Club of Calexico has announced the winners of scholarships for the year 2010 – Leticia Garcia , graduating student from UCSD ,Paloma Garcia and Genoveve Soto from Calexico High School. Leticia is off to Birmingham University in England to study Shakespearean English. Genoveva is attending IVC with aspirations of becoming a nurse.
Every year the Woman’s club selects worthy students for scholarships.
Also at their June Luncheon new officers for the coming 2010-2011 season were installed in a ceremony presided over by Paula Remington: Mary Medina , president; Iris Rodriguez, first- vice president; Elaine Perez, second vice-president; Frances Rice, Treasurer; Nancy Castillo, Financial Secretary; Mary Brubaker, Recording Secretary; Kathleen Perez, Corresponding Secretary; and Paula Remington, Parliamentarian. Club activities will resume September 11, with a Scholarship Tea.

By Mario Conde

The Mexican government will be monitoring how its co-nationals are treated when they come back to Mexico for vacation through the “Paisano” program.

The Paisano program is made of 21 departments of the Mexican government that have the mission to welcome Mexican nationals that come from Mexico or Canada. The program was created 20 years ago thanks to an initiative from Mexican nationals living in the U.S. that complained that they were victims entering to Mexico and now it focuses to have better services to those that return to their home country.

Alejandro Orbezo Elizaga, consular representative of the Paisano program in Los Angeles said that there will be 1,000 volunteers for this year’s summer program that will run from June 28 all the way to August in every access point to enter Mexico such as airports, bus terminals in order to give orientation to everyone that is seeking information about rights and obligations as citizen. Last week, Orbezo was in Mexicali to give uniforms to the volunteers of the Paisano program and thanked them for their help in supporting Mexican nationals that come from the United States or Canada.

Orbezo said that this year over 1 million Mexicans will return to their country either for vacation or to stay there indefinitely. Last year, 300 complains were received by the Paisano program for abuse of public officials. He said that every complaint is followed through and some of the victories are the return of vehicles that were taken away without permission by authorities and some have even been layoff because of that, Orbezo said. He said that every complaint received is helpful to see in what areas they can improve.

When asked if the SIAVE program will affect the return the Mexican nationals to their home country due that this new surveillance program that the Mexican government is implementing that is making long lines to cross to Mexico, Orbezo said that this is a good program and citizens have to be supportive of this program since this is an initiative of the Mexican government to fight organize crime and prevent the introduction of illegal weapons to Mexico.

Former Calexico Consul Pablo Arnaud said in his last day as Consul in Calexico; thanked the hospitality of the people of the Imperial Valley and added that all the consulates are also open to get complains about the treatment of Mexicans coming home. He warned to Mexican crossing the border not to introduce stuff that is not permitted by the Mexican laws. He said Mexico is a country of laws that need to be respected and should not introduce things that are unlawful. If it happens a case will automatically be started.


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved Monday the controversial apartments next to Willie Moreno J.R. High in an appeal despite rejection by the neighbors of this area.

The applicants for this project gave once again a power point presentation showing that this project has met all federal, state, and local requirements and have answered to all Caltrans concerns. Applicant Sam Jack said that they will only allow two people per apartment answering to the concerns of the planning commission that the project will have more people living in the apartments than what is proposed. The City of Calexico approved this project back in 1990 but the Calexico Unified School District took the property on eminent domain for financial reasons. Recently, former Superintendent David Groesbeck gave green light to the developer to continue with this project but current superintendent Dr. Cristina Luna said that the future of the property is yet to be decided. WLC Architects will make a recommendation to the district in within this year to use or dispose of this property in the master plan its being developed right now.

The proposed project needed to have environmental clearance for construction of a two story, 80 unit apartment complex on 4.2 acres of land generally located west of Eady St. between HWY. 98 and De Las Flores Street. The proposed development consist of eighteen separate building including sixteen two bedroom units, fifty three bedroom units, fourteen four bedroom units, a recreation room, separate laundry facilities, an office and a large green central area with a tot lot.  Project engineer, Jose Carlos Romero, showed in a video that there are no traffic congestions at key hours of the day during and after school. Opponents of this project loudly said that the video is not accurate since there is a lot of traffic congestion when parents take kids to school or people drive to work. There was also a concern that Caltrans has promised the widening of Hwy 98 for many years and this action has still not taken place and no date of has been given to start this.

Resident Amalia Rivera said that in the initial study they don’t consider the schools near the proposed project. She said that the traffic study was made on Thanksgiving weekend and does not show the amount of traffic in that area when school is in session. She said that in a meeting with Superintendent Luna, she said that the property is not for sale and doesn’t know why the planning board or the City of Calexico is discussing this item. Another resident said that this project will cause safety hazards for the kids the live near the area since the changes in the Calexico Unified School district, and the increase of students population, will be negative against the schools on the west side and the adjacent neighborhoods.

Resident Joe Alvarez questioned the Council if they have the application of Sam Jack to the Calexico Unified School District. Alvarez said that the School district is not selling the property and questioned why the council is rushing on this item. A motion to approve was made and the council passed this project 4-1 having Romero voting against it.

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