From the monthly archives: December 2010

By Jim Predmore

It was a Celebration of Life for the late Michael Eugene Johnson with nearly 800 in attendance at Faith Assembly in Imperial on December 29, 2010. The celebration was attended by County Supervisors, City Council Members, Judges, The District Attorney, Defense Attorneys, the Sheriff, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, his loving family and hundreds of friends that Mike had touched in his ministry. Several pastors throughout the Imperial Valley spoke of Mike and his love of the Lord and how true his commitment was to helping those in need.  The Turning Point Praise Band shared some of Pastor Mike’s favorite songs with the audience. 

Mike Johnson loved the Lord Jesus Christ and he proclaimed boldly about what the Lord had done for him and how coming to know the Lord changed his life. Mike Johnson was arrested back in 1992 for using drugs and was sentenced to Teen Challenge for one year. It was at Teen Challenge that Mike received Christ and started a new journey in his life. He had a desire to help others escape from the grips of addiction and strong holds in their lives. In 1994 Mike Johnson and some friends started Turning Point Ministries and opened a Men’s Home in Holtville California. Turning Point continues to reach out to those in need and has helped over 1000 men over the last sixteen years. Mike Johnson also started the Turning Point Life Center in 2005 and was the Pastor of that church. Mike was stricken with stomach cancer in March of 2010. Even after finding out that he had cancer, Mike still wanted to help others and found a new desire to reach out to others with cancer. Mike had to have his stomach removed in August, which caused him a lot of difficulties, and after another couple of months he found that the cancer had spread throughout his body. 

Mike Johnson went to be with the Lord on December 18, 2010. Mike will be missed by many but his legacy will live on. Norm Chandler, who was the Turning Point Men’s Home Supervisor, will be placed as interim Director and will also take over as Pastor of Turning Point Life Center. Norm has been working with Turning Point over the past seven years. Turning Point has become a valued asset to the Imperial County and is funded mainly through donations from the community. Please help to carry on the legacy of Mike Johnson by donating to Turning Point Men’s Home. Donations may be sent to 1090 E. Fifth St., Holtville California 92250.



Following last week’s tax law changes, the Internal Revenue Service announced today the upcoming tax season will start on time for most people, but taxpayers affected by three recently reinstated deductions need to wait until mid- to late February to file their individual tax returns. In addition, taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A will need to wait until mid- to late February to file as well.

The start of the 2011 filing season will begin in January for the majority of taxpayers. However, last week’s changes in the law mean that the IRS will need to reprogram its processing systems for three provisions that were extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that became law on Dec. 17.
People claiming any of these three items — involving the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction and educator expenses deduction as well as those taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A — will need to wait to file their tax returns until tax processing systems are ready, which the IRS estimates will be in mid- to late February.
“The majority of taxpayers will be able to fill out their tax returns and file them as they normally do,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We will do everything we can to minimize the impact of recent tax law changes on other taxpayers. The IRS will work through the holidays and into the New Year to get our systems reprogrammed and ensure taxpayers have a smooth tax season.”
The IRS will announce a specific date in the near future when it can start processing tax returns impacted by the late tax law changes. In the interim, people in the affected categories can start working on their tax returns, but they should not submit their returns until IRS systems are ready to process the new tax law changes.
The IRS urged taxpayers to use e-file instead of paper tax forms to minimize confusion over the recent tax changes and ensure accurate tax returns.
Taxpayers will need to wait to file if they are within any of the following three categories:
·        Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, medical and dental expenses as well as state and local taxes (add link to Schedule A).  In addition, itemized deductions include the state and local general sales tax deduction extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 enacted Dec. 17, which primarily benefits people living in areas without state and local income taxes and is claimed on Schedule A, Line 5. Because of late Congressional action to enact tax law changes, anyone who itemizes and files a Schedule A will need to wait to file until mid- to late February.
·        Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. This deduction for parents and students – covering up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution – is claimed on Form 8917. However, the IRS emphasized that there will be no delays for millions of parents and students who claim other education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.
·        Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This deduction is for kindergarten through grade 12 educators with out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23 and Form 1040A, Line 16.
For those falling into any of these three categories, the delay affects both paper filers and electronic filers.
The IRS emphasized that e-file is the fastest, best way for those affected by the delay to get their refunds. Those who use tax-preparation software can easily download updates from their software provider. The IRS Free File program also will be updated.
As part of this effort, the IRS will be working closely with the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays and ensure a smooth tax season.
Updated information will be posted on This will include an updated copy of Schedule A as well as updated state and local sales tax tables. Several other forms used by relatively few taxpayers are also affected by the recent changes, and more details are available on
In addition, the IRS reminds employers about the new withholding tables released Friday for 2011. Employers should implement the 2011 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than Jan. 31, 2011. The IRS also reminds employers that Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, containing the extensive wage bracket tables that some employers use, will be available on before year’s end.



Sept. 9, 1957 – Dec. 18, 2010

Services for Pastor Johnson will be held on Tuesday, December 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Faith Assembly Church in Imperial and Wednesday, December 29 at 10 a.m., also at Faith Assembly. He will be laid to rest at Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville. A Celebration of life will be held at Turning Point Life Center in Holtville following the funeral.

Our beloved servant of God has completed his missions here on Earth and will now begin his journey with Christ.

Born September 9, 1957 in Calexico, CA to Lou and Louie Johnson. Mike was raised in Holtville, CA where he attended elementary, junior high and high school. As a child, he enjoyed baseball and various outdoor activities such as riding his dirt bike, camping and fishing. When Mike became a young man he joined the family businesses, Johnson Brothers Welding and L & M Welding where he excelled as a welder. Mike also had a passion for helping people. He worked as a volunteer for the Holtville Fire Dept. and Gold Cross Ambulance for several years.

In 1994 after enduring many of life’s struggles he gave his life to the Lord and dedicated himself to his ministry whole heartedly. Some of his greatest accomplishments in life were becoming a Pastor and founding Turning Point Ministries and Turning Point Life Center.

Pastor Mike will always be remembered for his love and passion for his ministry, sharing the words of God, trying to save souls for Christ and his enormous love for his family. He was willing and ready to help those in need.

He was preceded in death by his father, Louie Johnson; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson; maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. D.C. Sawyer.

Michael is survived by his wife, Rosemary Johnson; daughters, Jericho Menvielle, Destiny Johnson, Melissa Cardona, and Gina (Tony) Diaz; grandchildren, Madison Menvielle, Jacob, Jayden, and Abigail Diaz; mother, Lou (Johnson) Robinson; sister, Nancy (Rick) Turner; sisters-in-law, Mary Garcia, Margie (Gabe) Gutierrez, Patty (Javier) Moreno, Christina (Julio) Tydingco, Janina Hurtado; mother and father-in-law, Helen and Elias Hurtado.

Dear Dad, we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being our anchor, but for you, our hearts have no bottom. We love you – your daughters.

The family suggests memorials to Sun Community Federal Credit Union c/o Rosemary Johnson.


Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico West Port of Entry thwarted a smuggling attempt with an unusual concealment: narcotics hidden inside cans of hominy, jalapeños, and peach halves.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, a 24-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Pomona, drove a red 2010 Volkswagen Jetta to the downtown border crossing.

A CBP officer inspected groceries that the man had in his car, and noticed anomalies with the weight and feel of the contents in the cans when he picked them up.

A CBP agriculture specialist screened a couple of the cans in an X-ray and detected anomalies, and a CBP officer with a narcotic detector dog screened the cans, and the canine alerted to them.

A service canine alerted officers to the suspect groceries.
CBP officers at the port of entry in downtown Calexico, Calif. found narcotics hidden inside this can of hominy.

Officers then opened the cans, and discovered five packages containing a total of 20.7 pounds of methamphetamine and one package containing 5.2 pounds of marijuana, all worth an estimated $230,000.

In the largest seizure along the California/Mexico border this weekend, CBP officers at the port of entry in downtown Calexico discovered almost 100 pounds of marijuana in the gas tank of a 1990 Chevy Silverado.

On Friday, at about 6 p.m., a CBP officer was roving through the lanes of traffic waiting to enter the United States, with a narcotic detector dog. The canine alerted to the vehicle, driven by a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Calipatria.

A CBP officer, using a fiber-optic scope, found weld marks on the inside of the gas tank.

The gas tank was removed, and officers discovered a metal box fitted inside of the tank. Inside the metal box, officers found a large package, containing 98.3 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $44,600.

In each instance, CBP officers seized the vehicle and narcotics and turned the suspected smuggler over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.


The American Red Cross – San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter is on the scene in San Diego to help those affected by the torrential rainfall. An emergency shelter will open at 4:00 p.m. today at Magdaleno Recreation Center in Shelltown to help residents impacted by floodwaters.  The Red Cross offers a safe, warm, dry place to stay, a hot meal for shelter residents, minor first aid, and most importantly, a shoulder to lean on. The Red Cross has been operating a Temporary Evacuation Point all day and is now opening an overnight shelter as a precautionary measure in anticipation of heavier rainfall this evening.

The shelter is located at:

Magdaleno Recreation Center

2902 Marcy Avenue

San Diego, 92113

“In the days and weeks to come, the Red Cross will be coordinating with emergency officials and local community partners to help residents impacted by the flood get back on their feet,” said Chris Marek, Chief Officer, Development and Communications. “The Red Cross will keep shelters open as long as needed, to support those affected by the rains.”

The Red Cross offers steps you should follow if your neighborhood is threatened by the flooding or mudslides.

If flooding is a danger:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

If mudslides threaten your neighborhood:

  • If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
  • Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
  • If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you, although please note that ONLY official service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help local disaster victims please contact the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross at 858-309-1200 or visit

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