From the daily archives: Tuesday, October 5, 2010

THE IMPERIAL COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND AGRICULTURAL COMMISSIONERS OFFICE CONTINUE INVESTIGATING  POSSIBLE WATER CONTAMINATION IN HOLTVILLE AREA

Water samples are being tested for the presence of two possible pesticides.  Results are expected today.

The Imperial County Public Health Department and Agricultural Commissioner’s Office continue to work in close collaboration with state and local agencies to investigate the reported water contamination in the Holtville area. Water samples have been taken from unflushed cisterns fed by the South Alamo Canal and are being tested for the presence of metam-sodium and methoxyfenozide.  Due to the complexity of the testing required, the samples were sent to the state laboratory in Sacramento which has a more advanced level of testing for the detection of pesticides in water.  The results are expected today. The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is interviewing residents who may potentially be impacted and is investigating all reports by individuals in the area.  Some residents have reported skin rashes, upset stomachs, and other general illnesses that could potentially be linked to an exposure to pesticides.

“We want people to know that at this point we continue to gather the facts,” stated Dr. Stephen Munday, who is an expert in toxicology.  Given that the suspected chemicals have been identified and were believed to have entered the water as runoff from a sprayed field, significant health effects are not anticipated in this situation.”

Metam-sodium is a pesticide that can cause irritation after exposure.  Metam-sodium is known to give off a strong odor when it reacts with water; this can be expected even with low levels.  Anything at or below .02 milligrams per liter of metam-sodium in drinking water is considered safe for long-term exposure.  Moreover, because of the number of safety factors incorporated into this recommendation, short-term exposures that exceed this level would not necessarily be linked to any adverse health effects. This means that even if test results reveal a higher level of metam-sodium in the water, health effects are not likely.  In addition, the water samples are also being tested for methoxyfenozide, another pesticide, after the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office found that this pesticide was also recently applied in the area along the South Alamo Canal.  This pesticide specifically affects the growth of insects and has minimal if any effect on humans and animals.  No acute or long-term health effects would be anticipated due to exposure to methoxyfenozide through the water.  Dead fish were reported in the South Alamo Canal last week and tests have not yet confirmed if this was due to exposure to the pesticide in the water.  Fish live and breathe in water so even low levels of metam-sodium could affect the fish population adversely.

The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is the County entity responsible for permitting and monitoring all pesticide use in Imperial County to ensure the legal and safe use of products.  Since the incident was first reported to the County on Tuesday, September 28th, staff from the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office have been actively investigating the incident including identifying all possible applications upstream from the canal. Door to door interviews were conducted with residents in the potentially impacted area and farming land adjacent to the South Alamo Canal has been surveyed.  Door knockers with contact information were left at those residences where no one was home.  The investigation has also included reviewing all the different types of applications that have taken place two miles upstream from the canal.

Individuals who continue to detect a strange odor coming from their cisterns or have not had their cisterns flushed yet are advised not to bathe or use the water for themselves or their animals and contact the Imperial Irrigation District at 760-339-9389 to have their cisterns flushed and filled with clean water.  Individuals in the area that have not yet talked to someone in the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office are asked to call the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 760-482-4314.  County staff is interested in talking to every household in the area. Individuals that have questions on the health impact of exposure to metam-sodium can contact Jeff Lamoure, Imperial County Public Health Department Environmental Health Division at 760-335-8530.  If individuals experience unexpected symptoms and are concerned that they could have been exposed they are asked to seek the advice of their healthcare provider.

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María Peinado, Public Health Information Officer

Imperial County Public Health Department

935 Broadway, El Centro, CA 92243

Tel:  (760) 482-4461 Fax: ( 760)  352-9933

 

Courtesy / Tessera Solar This photo illustration by Tessera Solar shows how the Stirling dishes would look if built.

In an historic step forward in the nation’s clean energy future, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved the first large-scale solar energy plants ever to be built on public lands. The two projects, both located in California, are the first in a series of renewable energy projects on public lands under final review by the Department of the Interior that would provide thousands of U.S. jobs and advance U.S. clean energy technologies.

“These projects are milestones in our focused effort to rapidly and responsibly capture renewable energy resources on public lands,” Salazar said in signing the final Records of Decision for the initiatives. “These projects advance the President’s agenda for stimulating investment in cutting-edge technology, creating jobs for American workers, and promoting clean energy for American homes, businesses and industry.”

Salazar’s approval grants the U.S.-based companies access to almost 6,800 acres of public lands for 30 years to build and operate solar plants that could produce up to 754 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power 226,000 – 566,000 typical American homes. The projects will generate almost 1,000 new jobs.

In April of 2009, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) committed to helping the nation reach its clean energy future by guaranteeing coordinated processing, full environmental analysis and public review for specific renewable energy projects where the companies involved demonstrated they were ready to advance to the formal environmental review and public participation process.

“We’re confident that our solar program is smart from the start. With something as momentous as the introduction of large-scale solar development on the public lands, we have one chance to do things right,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “That’s why we did complete environmental analyses on both these projects with expanded opportunities for public participation.”

The projects Salazar approved today will employ two different types of solar energy technology. The Imperial Valley Solar Project, proposed by Tessera Solar of Texas, will use Stirling Energy System’s SunCatcher technology on 6,360 acres of public lands in Imperial County, California. The plant is expected to produce up to 709 megawatts from 28,360 solar dishes, enough to power 212,700 – 531,750 homes.

The Chevron Lucerne Valley Solar Project, proposed by Chevron Energy Solutions of California, will employ photo-voltaic solar technology on 422 acres of public lands in San Bernardino County, California, and will produce up to 45 megawatts from 40,500 solar panels, enough to power 13,500 – 33,750 homes.

The “fast track” program is part of the Administration’s overall strategy to spur a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of renewable energy on public lands. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, renewable energy developers that have their projects under construction by the end of 2010 or meet one of the program’s safe harbor provisions can qualify for significant funding. The Recovery Act’s payment for specified energy property in lieu of tax credit program makes Tessera and Chevron eligible for approximately $273 million and $31 million, respectively.

Each project has undergone thorough environmental review, including public scoping, draft environment impact statements (EIS) and final EIS’s. The companies have undertaken extensive mitigation efforts to minimize any impacts to wildlife, water and other resources. State and federal agencies have set up a joint compensation fund operated by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to ensure that impacts are mitigated.

“There are 11 million acres of public lands in the California Desert, and a large majority of those lands are managed for conservation purposes,” Salazar said. “These projects, while a significant commitment of public land, actually represent less than one-hundredth of one percent of that total area. Given the many benefits, the extensive mitigation measures, and the fair market value economic return, approval of these projects is clearly in the public interest.”

Salazar also praised the unprecedented partnership between Interior and the State of California in encouraging renewable energy projects. On October 12, 2009, Secretary Salazar and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an agreement directing Interior agencies and California State agencies to create a unique federal-state initiative to advance development of environmentally appropriate renewable energy on U.S. lands in California. The Imperial Valley Solar Project is one of the projects being jointly processed through the BLM and the California Energy Commission cooperative model.

“Our collaborative approach shows how separate government processes can be streamlined, without cutting any corners or skipping any environmental checks and balances in the process,” Salazar said. “I commend Governor Schwarzenegger and the people of California for their leadership and partnership on these important renewable energy projects.”

 

By Jim Predmore

Flowers and a Picture of Amber placed on the workout bike that she used. Photo Provided by Lifted Up.

Imperial County finds it self still in shock this morning, as reality sinks in after the tragedy that has reached the hearts of so many people here in the Valley. There is somberness all over the Valley from Brawley, Imperial, El Centro, and Holtville as many spent sleepless nights just wondering how this could have happened.

Yesterday morning Nathan Veliquette started his day by coming to Holtville to start his workday at 6am, Nathan was a public works employee for the City of Holtville. Apparently he had stopped at a local restaurant to purchase a soda and as he was leaving he asked the employee working behind the counter to say good buy to an employee that wasn’t working that day. When he arrived at work, he got into his City of Holtville work truck, and headed back to El Centro. Somehow he was able to chase down Amber Bryant while she was heading southbound on La Brucherie Ave and cut her off, causing a collision between the city truck and Amber Bryant’s vehicle. Eyewitnesses say that Nathan Veliquette then exited the truck and walked over to the passenger side of Amber’s vehicle and opened fire and then turned the weapon to himself.  The weapon either misfired or was out of ammunition. Nathan Veliquette walked back to the truck and reloaded the gun and walked back to Amber’s vehicle, pointed the weapon at himself and fired, dropping to the ground. Nathan and Amber’s son was in Amber’s vehicle and witnessed this horrifying tragedy and the death of both of his parents. Amber Bryant was a sixth grade school teacher at Sunflower Elementary School in El Centro and was just blocks away from school when this horrible event took place.

What could have gone wrong? This is a picture of Nathan and Amber just a little over 8 months ago at the Holtville Rib Cook-off Photo By Jim Predmore

A selfish act that affects so many and leaves an entire county stunned. Many of Amber’s coworkers at Sunflower Elementary had to leave work after hearing the news. Employees and Members of Lifted Up where Amber had made so many friends were devastated and the many hundreds of friends that Amber had made in the community not to mention what a devastating blow to her family. The Holtville City Employees have been left bewildered by an act of one of there coworkers, left wondering how this could have ever happened, many left work early shocked and saddened.

There has been a tremendous amount of sorrow, grief and concern expressed on Amber’s Facebook page. There was a gathering at the Brunswick Zone Monday afternoon and then another at Lifted Up Workout in Brawley Monday evening. There will be numerous fundraising events through the Valley. The Imperial Valley is really good at supporting families in need but would rather that events like this never had taken place. Please help the families in there time of need.

 

Saturday, October 16, 2010
7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Imperial Valley Expo
North End Parking Lot
200 East Second Street, Imperial, CA
COST: $2.00/person
The flu shot is for any person who wishes to
reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with
influenza or transmitting influenza to others.
Please wear a short sleeve shirt for convenience of the drive thru
clinic. Payment by cash or check only.
This is a drive-thru clinic. Individuals getting a flu shot at this clinic need to arrive in a
car and be able to drive through the designated clinic area. For more information
about the drive-thru flu clinic please contact the Imperial County Public Health
Department Immunization Program at (760) 482-4762.
Sábado 16 de Octubre, 2010
7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Imperial Valley Expo
Estacionamiento norte
200 East Second Street, Imperial, CA
COSTO: $2.00/persona
La vacuna contra la gripe es para cualquier
persona que desee reducir la probabilidad de
enfermarse de la gripe o transmitir la gripe a
otras personas.
Favor de usar camisa de manga corta para poder atenderle de
mejor manera. Solamente se aceptará pago en cheque o en
efectivo.
Este será un evento de servicio vehicular (drive-thru). Las personas que acudan al
evento deberán llegar en auto y poder manejar dentro del área designada. Para
mayores informes favor de comunicarse con el Programa de Inmunizaciones del
Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Imperial al (760) 482-4762.

 

By Chris Furguson
The Brawley Wildcats came into their game against the Coachella Valley United Arabs looking to improve on their mistake-filled performance the previous week against the Christian Academy Patriots.
Instead, Brawley found themselves struggling to keep possession of the ball thanks to a half dozen turnovers and a fake punt, yet the Wildcats managed to eke out a 20-16 victory by the end of the game.
“It’s terrible,” said one Brawley coach.  “This far into the season, we shouldn’t be playing like this.”
Before the game, as it was ASB/Parents night, the parents and players of the football team, along with the cheerleaders and team managers, were introduced to the waiting crowds as they walked down the Warne Field track.
After receiving the ball on the opening kickoff, Brawley’s #22 fumbled the ball less than 50 seconds into the game, but the United Arabs failed to capitalize.
On Brawley’s next possession, at 5:22, Raven Smith fumbled the ball, which resulted in a Coachella Valley touchdown when the Arabs QB Sergio Salinas made a 23 yard pass to Gabriel Saldivar, followed by a Rosendo Rosales PAT.
During the second quarter, Brawley battled back from two more fumbles when, with 4:39 left in the half, quarterback Donald Wharton threw a 22 yard pass to A.B. Oceguera, followed by a Sergio Hernandez PAT.
A fifth Brawley turnover with less than five seconds in the half led to a failed field goal attempt from Rosales.
Brawley’s troubles continued when, after a fake punt by Robert Rodriguez led to a first down, the Arabs managed to score on the next play when RB Armando Castro made a touchdown run.  The PAT from Rosales missed, however, and the score was 13-7.
Brawley later scored, with less than seven minutes left in the quarter, when Wharton made a 63-yard run for a touchdown with the Hernandez PAT going through the uprights, giving Brawley the lead for the first time 14-13.
With Brawley taking the lead for the first time in the game, the Wildcats made their final score of the game with 2:38 left in the period when Jacob Valenzuela blocked a Rodriguez punt that Raven Smith picked up for a 22-yard special teams touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, Rosales made a field goal early, but the Wildcats kept the Arabs from scoring any further.
Brawley (3-1) next plays Blair Vikings of Pasadena for Homecoming tomorrow at 7 pm at Warne Field.

 
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