From the daily archives: Thursday, July 1, 2010

George William Curtis once said, “The New Year begins in a snow storm of white vows …”   Well, this is Imperial Valley – no snow fall here save the toasty triple digit temperatures that rang in our Fiscal New Year with a high of 113º today   =)

As we say goodbye to the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year and hello to 2010-2011 – it’s hard not to begin remembering the many challenges we came across this past year – Yes, one would think that would be the consuming focus of our memories of the FY Past – but instead the steady commitment you have brought to our small operation quickly washes above all of those challenges – Thank you!

It is this sunny outlook that will keep us looking forward with a collective enthusiasm that we can do better even yet.    So throughout the many obstacles our local econmoy presented us with – that kept us in a very realistic mode; with the New Year we can also remain optimistic that we will be able to bring our goals, our services and our continued commitment to a community that trusts us.

So, I guess ending with Joe King’s New Year quote would be more appropriate – “New Year, Same Goal …”   =)   Happy New Year and thank you for all you do – we couldn’t have done it without you!

IVSC New Year – Thanks for the Memories Video:

Set to the Fine Young Cannibals Song – “She Drives Me Crazy” … and yes, sometimes this fine old girl we know as The American Red Cross can do that to us – but more than that she compels us to do our best in the most trying of times …

Here are some totals that capture the year’s activities … Our goals for the coming year are greater – the challenges bigger – Hope we can count on you to meet them!

Disaster – IVSC Totals

DAT Responses / Clients Assisted   – 27 / 79
Canteen Responses / Canteen Clients – 10 / 232

Other – IVSC Totals

Outreach Events / Participants Reached – 55 / 153,206
Meetings / Training – 146

Health & Safety IVSC Totals

Community Classes  –

Total of the Adult/Infant/Child CPR, First Aid, AED Components

Authorized Providers –

Total of the Adult/Infant/Child CPR, First Aid, AED Components

Full Service (includes USBP NAN)

Total of the Adult/Infant/Child CPR, First Aid, AED Components

Aquatics 373
All other special courses 52
Grand Total 4,111

Financials IVSC Totals

Products & Services  –

Totals do not include the USBP NAN FS Contracts

Just over …


Donations –

Includes Special WRCD Event, United Way, PIV Campaign

International Relief Fund – Haiti $25,074.89
International Relief Fund – Chile $40.00
Grand Total $119,941.86

U.S. Congressman Bob Filner today announced Calexico International and Imperial County airports will receive a combined total of $1,398,463 for upgrades and repairs.

“I’m happy to see so much federal funding heading to the Imperial Valley,” said Filner.  “Not only will these funds help make our airports safer, they will play a part in stimulating the local economy.

Calexico International Airport was allocated $239,551 to install a precision approach path indicator (PAPI), runway end identifier lighting system (REILs), and airfield guidance signs.

Imperial County Airport will receive $1,158,912 for the phased construction of the aircraft cargo apron, the design of various improvements including rehabilitation of runway lighting, relocation of the segmented circle, and installation of perimeter fencing.


CAL FIRE Urges All Californians to Celebrate the Fourth of July Safely and Legally
With warm weather and family events, the Fourth of July can be a fun time to create great memories.  It can also be a tragic time for fires and critical burn injuries. CAL FIRE would like to remind all Californians that before your family celebrates, make sure everyone knows about fireworks safety.

“Fireworks not only create significant dangers to citizens when used improperly or illegally, but also increase the demands on fire departments and firefighters,” said CAL FIRE Director Del Walters.  “We recommend that you and your family make memories by attending a local professional fireworks display.  If you live in a jurisdiction that allows fireworks, only use legal fireworks displaying the “Safe and Sane” State Fire Marshal seal and follow common sense practices to ensure your Fourth of July holiday remains festive and safe.”

Consumers who choose to purchase legal fireworks need to obey local laws.  State fire officials urge you to check first with your local fire department or jurisdiction to find out if fireworks are permitted in your area.  If you live in a community that allows the use of State Fire Marshal approved “Safe and Sane” Fireworks, make sure you only use those fireworks where you purchased them.

It is illegal to transport, store, use, sell or possess fireworks where they are not allowed or are illegal.  CAL FIRE Law Enforcement officers in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies will have zero-tolerance for individuals that transport, possess, store, sell, or use fireworks in the wildlands or communities where they are prohibited and illegal.

The celebration of the 4th of July should not be an excuse to put Californians at risk of fire or injury.

If you live in a community that allows State Fire Marshal approved “Safe and Sane” fireworks, CAL FIRE encourages you to follow these fireworks safety tips:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them!
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Always have water handy; either by hose or bucket.
  • Only use fireworks as intended.  Don’t try to alter or combine them.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activities.  Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • Think about your pet.  Animals have sensitive ears and can be extremely frightened or stressed on the Fourth of July.  Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose or get injured.
Remember that fireworks are not toys and they should always be used in a safe and legal manner.  CAL FIRE wants everyone to have a safe and memorable Fourth of July holiday.

For more information about safe fireworks use, visit the CAL FIRE web site at


Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the arrests of nine people in a San Bernardino County Medi-Cal fraud case in which employees of a skilled nursing facility and their associates falsified documentation and “callously stole” more than $150,000 from patients and their families for their own personal use.

“This scam ripped off both senior citizens and our desperately needed public health funds,” said Brown. “These thieves callously stole thousands of state dollars meant to be spent on seniors in this skilled nursing facility.”

The investigation was launched in January by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse after an initial investigation by the state’s Department of Health Care Services.

Brown’s office charged employees and associates at Community Extended Care Hospital of Montclair with committing Medi-Cal fraud in order to steal assets from the trust accounts of elderly patients, which were held by the facility.

From 2006 to 2009, several employees of the extended care hospital conspired with a former San Bernardino County employee who fraudulently submitted documentation to the Medi-Cal program so that Medi-Cal would pay the entire monthly bill for more than 50 patients in the facility.

Then the conspirators told patients and their families they were required to pay a share of the cost of their care directly to the facility. The payments made by the patients and their families were then placed in patient trust accounts, and the suspects took that money for their own personal gain.

The scam involved hospital employees writing checks, ranging from $250 to $6,900, from the patient accounts to individuals in the gang, including a UPS driver, their own relatives, and a next door neighbor, who would then cash the checks, take a percentage of the stolen funds and return most of the cash to the hospital employees. The checks were approved by officials at the hospital.

Nine suspects were arrested this morning and are now in custody at San Bernardino County Jail. Bail was set for $1 million on each defendant. One suspect, Maribel Velazquez, is still at large.

The ten individuals charged in the crime are:

Johannes Simanjuntak, 59, of Pomona, a former administrator at the hospital
Peggy Lee Hoskins, 58, of Upland, a former personnel manager at the hospital
Laurie Diane Powell, 46, of Riverside, former San Bernardino County employee
Sean Matthew Ashton, 22, of Riverside, Powell’s son
Andy Perry Tricas, 46, of Duarte, boyfriend of suspect (now deceased)
Arnon Graham, 50, of Rancho Cucamonga, UPS driver
Claudia Zaragoza, 34, of Bloomington, Social Services designee
Orelious Antonio Peevy, 41, of Chino, Social Services designee
Maribel Velazquez, 36, of Chaparral, New Mexico, administrative worker at the hospital (not in custody)
David Carmona, 74, of LaVerne, neighbor of deceased employee

“Our anti-fraud partnership with the Attorney General’s Office has once again helped protect our most vulnerable citizens and ensure that valuable Medi-Cal funds are used for their intended purpose,” said Karen Johnson, Department of Health Care Services Chief Deputy Director. “We will continue our coordinated efforts as we work to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent allowed by law.”


Imperial Irrigation District announces the launch of the “Watt-Wise Wednesdays Bulb Exchange” campaign to help customers become more energy efficient by trading up to five incandescent bulbs for five energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.    “Using CFLs is a simple, cost-effective way for customers to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Sabrina Barber, assistant energy manager. “By replacing multiple incandescent bulbs with energy efficient CFLs, customers will see significant savings in their energy bill.”   Compact fluorescent bulbs are a popular energy efficiency measure because they produce the same amount of light, give off less heat and last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. By using 75 percent less electricity, they also produce less greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce energy costs.   Customers who exchange five 100-watt incandescent light bulbs for five 25-watt energy efficient CFLs could potentially save up to $90 a year.  The savings are based on replacing bulbs in areas with a minimum of five hours of usage per day for 365 days a year.   To encourage customers to switch bulbs, Watt-Wise Wednesday Bulb Exchange events are being held in convenient locations throughout IID’s service area.    Imperial Valley Schedule July 14 – 10 am to 2 pm Brawley Chamber of Commerce 204 South Imperial Avenue, Brawley
July 21 – 2 pm to 6 pm Calexico Recreation and Communication Center 707 Dool Avenue, Calexico   July 28 – 10 am to 2 pm IID Bill Condit Auditorium 1285 Broadway, El Centro Coachella Valley Schedule August 4 – 10 am to 2 pm Coachella Senior Center 1540 7th Street, Coachella   August 11 – 10 am to 2 pm Indio Senior Center 78-450 Avenida La Fonda, La Quinta   August 18 – 10 am to 2 pm Indio Senior Center 45-700 Aladdin Street, Indio   Customers interested in participating are asked to provide valid identification along with a copy of their electric bill at the time of the exchange.  Limited to IID customers, the exchange provides up to five CFLs per household while supplies last.   For more information, please visit IID’s website at or call (760) 482-3505 or 1-800-303-7756.     About IID: As the third largest public power provider in California, IID reliably serves energy to approximately 146,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties. Controlling over 1,000 megawatts of energy, IID’s diverse portfolio includes hydro, nuclear, natural gas, coal, solar and biomass resources.

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