From the monthly archives: April 2011

Some Things Stay the Same

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME DEPARTMENT.
In our fair city of Holtville there is a tradition of asking for too much, which usually leads to the people getting nothing.
Huh?
Well, it seems the folks who want to redo Mack Park want to do the whole thing over again at an outrageously high cost to the city.
The soccer coach and the baseball coach only asked the city recently for another baseball diamond and another soccer field to accommodate all the kids who want to play their games on them.
Ask for a Volkswagen and the planners give you a Rolls Royce.
Plans that were presented at a town meeting this week called not only for a baseball diamond and two soccer fields. They also called for a T-ball area, new playground equipment walking paths, picnic tables and landscaping.
All that would drive the cost up to five times higher than was originally planned.
All that was asked for was the ball field and the soccer field.
It’s been my experience that when the city asks for elaborate plans such as this, they wind up doing nothing at all.
We had a beautiful public safety and civic center building designed about five years ago  with a $5 million cost that never got built.
We had a skateboard park, hiking trails and soccer field complex that never got built either.
C’mon, the kids just want to play ball, whether they throw it or kick it. Give them what they want with the current economic climate kept firmly in mind and everyone will be happy.
If the city wants to add all that other stuff over time, then that would be fine. But, remember what you started out to do. Baseball and soccer. Focus on those two things and put the rest on hold.
Maybe the city council and city staff will actually get them done as promised.
A STATE AUDIT OF CDBG funds points out  more than a few discrepancies in how the city has been run over the last few years. It may be that the state is just looking for more funds of its own and is taking a harsher look at city funding. They’re probably hoping to get a little more loot out of the cities that they haven’t already taken away.
But the discrepancies are still there and need to be dealt with. One is an arrangement which I always thought was a little suspect.
The Holt Group was processing CDBG loans while at the same time acting as the city’s engineer. Which means they were contracting with themselves to provide city services. Or that’s what the state is trying to claim.
The government should have more openness and a lot more citizen involvement in anything that is using public funds.
Right now you have an employee of the Holt Group acting as the City Planner and the Holt Group acting as the City Engineer.
The State is saying that’s not a good situation if you want to keep a watch on  funds and where they are going.
Other cities have planners who are employees of the city and city engineers who are also employees.
Somebody needs to take a look at the large amount of money that is being laid out for all these plans and designs and what is happening to it.
In the case of Mack Park, nothing was presented to the Planning Commission and the body has only had two meetings since the first of the year. That makes it look as though one individual is doing all the planning.
It’s time to get back to some small town basics. In the good old days several volunteers would get together and help construct the fields, or clean up the property and lay out the necessary markings to provide the extra fields that were the only thing asked for.
What would be wrong with several volunteers doing the same thing now? Forget the big city plans. Get some people who are interested in Little league and Youth Soccer and have them come up with what’s necessary to make improvements to the field.
I think they might find lots of volunteers if they looked.
Meanwhile, the city needs to get more people involved in the planning stages. That’s what you have a Planning Commission for. But it doesn’t get consulted until the final plans are laid out and they are told what to do.
It’s definitely time for some changes in policies and procedures at City Hall. Maybe the CDBG audit will be  the catalyst to do that.
I hope you’re having a great Spring. I know I am.
Peace.

 

WESTMORLAND, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station arrested a man Wednesday afternoon attempting to smuggle more than $100,000 worth of methamphetamine.

 

The incident occurred around 12 p.m., when a Border Patrol canine team alerted to a tan colored Pontiac Grand Prix while performing a cursory search at primary inspection of the Highway 86 Checkpoint near Westmorland, Calif.  The sedan was being driven by a 37-year-old United States citizen.  During secondary inspection, a thorough search of the vehicle was conducted and Border Patrol agents discovered approximately 3.5 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside a non-factory compartment.

 

The driver, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration

 

IMPERIAL COUNTY AND EASTERN RIVERSIDE COUNTY- 456 AM MST THU APR 28 2011 /456 AM PDT THU APR 28 2011/ …RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM MST /11 AM PDT/ TO 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ FRIDAY DUE TO STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND HIGH FIRE DANGER FOR FIRE ZONES 131…132…231 AND 232… …FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND HIGH FIRE DANGER FOR FIRE ZONES 131…132…231 AND 232… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM MST /11 AM PDT/ TO 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ FRIDAY. A FIRE WEATHER WATCH HAS ALSO BEEN ISSUED. THIS FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH FOR FRIDAY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT. * AFFECTED AREA: IN ARIZONA… FIRE WEATHER ZONE 131 YUMA/MARTINEZ LAKE AND VICINITY/LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY AZ…ARIZONA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 132 SOUTH-CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST DESERTS. IN CALIFORNIA… FIRE WEATHER ZONE 231 LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY CA…CALIFORNIA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 232 IMPERIAL COUNTY AND EASTERN RIVERSIDE COUNTY. * WIND: FROM THE SOUTHWEST SUSTAINED AT 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 40 MPH. * HUMIDITY: 5 TO 15 PERCENT. * IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND HIGH FIRE DANGER WILL CREATE HAZARDOUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… PLEASE ADVISE THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS AND FIRE CREWS IN THE FIELD OF THIS RED FLAG WARNING.

 

Heroes may not have a big red “S” on their chest but you know a hero when you see one. A hero can be someone who bravely acts in a time of immediate need and whose actions demonstrate the potential that is in all of us.  A hero may be a family member, friend, coworker or perhaps a stranger whose good deeds you read about in the newspaper or heard about on the evening news.

As the community leader in emergency preparedness, prevention and response, the American Red Cross honors individuals whose extraordinary acts of courage and kindness make them real heroes. If someone is a hero in your eyes, the Red Cross encourages you to nominate them for the American Red Cross 9th annual Real Heroes Breakfast.

 

You can submit your nomination online at www.sdarc.org/realheroes; fax the online form to (858) 309-1285 or mail your nomination to the following address:

 

American Red Cross

Attn: Real Heroes Nomination

3950 Calle Fortunada

San Diego, CA 92123

 

Real Heroes winners will be honored at the 9th annual Real Heroes Breakfast on October 13, 2011 aboard the USS Midway Museum from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The event will be co-hosted by honorary event chair Bill Geppert, former senior vice president and general manager of Cox Communications.

The American Red Cross is proud to honor community heroes who live out our mission every day through acts of great bravery, dedication and service to our community. Nominate your hero today!

About the American Red Cross, San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter
The American Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of the American people to provide our programs and services. The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter is leading the effort to make San Diego and Imperial Counties “America’s most prepared communities.” With the public’s ongoing support we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; 24-hour emergency services to deployed military personnel and their families; and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. For more information about or to support the chapter please contact (858) 309-1200 or visit www.sdarc.org.

The American Red Cross REAL HEROES ALUMNI for Imperial Valley

REAL HEROES

Imperial Valley Alumni

 

2003 REAL HEROES

LUCAS HESTER, Good Samaritan Boy – on the morning of his 11th birthday Lucas expected to blow out birthday candles and instead he alerted his mom and a friend to a fire racing through their El Centro mobile home.  Lucas has autism, and many times did not speak – but this morning his quick action to shout “fire!” saved everyone!

RANDY RISTER, Wilderness Rescue – as a member of Desert Wildlife Unlimited, Inc for 22 years Randy has built safe watering holes for deer and other animals so they won’t injure themselves using irrigation canals.

 

2004 REAL HEROES

FIRE and RESCUE, Steve Vandewaite, Tom Stephenson, Damian Guilliani & Eric Connell – though these gentlemen were not Fire and Rescue staff out of the Imperial Valley ~ they were honored for having save one of our very own Valleyites – Rosie Lopez from the Imperial Valley College.  These gentlemen save Rosie after being trapped for almost 20 hours  in her vehicle that had gone 1,700 feet  over the side of the freeway, in the InKoPah Pass area between Imperial and San Diego County.  The ground crew rescuers unselfishly risked their own lives and personal safety for the live of the victim.  Their quick rescue and on scene treatment was such that the helicopter literally did not have to land from the time it left the pad @ Mercy Hospital to the delivery transport to Sharp Memorial.  It was an incredible rescue to see Flight Medic Steve Vandewalle lowered 190 feet from the helicopter to within 20 feet of Rosie Lopez.  The quick response and immediate life support provided to Rosie is what made this rescue a successful one!

 

2005 REAL HEROES

None were submitted for the selection process on this year for Imperial Valley   =(

 

2006 REAL HEROES

BRAD WILLS, Media – our weather anchor for KYMA News Channel 11 and now with the FOX affiliate in San Diego, was recognized as a hero for his proactive response to Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.  Brad spearheaded a giving campaign in Yuma, Arizona and Imperial County which brought together all of the local Television, Radio and Print media; it also mobilized civic leaders, organizations and citizens to aid the Gulf Coast recovery efforts.  In addition to financial success, the initiative provided a much needed outlet for desert residents to assist the relief operation.  It was a very encouraging campaign that united two counties across two states that made a difference.

 

2007 REAL HEROES

UNITED STATES GYPSUM, Company – USG was recognized as our community leader in corporate and family preparedness – by ensuring the safe workplace environment at their production plant is a priority.  USG is doing it’s part to help us Become America’s Most Prepared Community!

 

U.S. Border Patrol BOrder, Search, Trauma And Rescue Team (BORSTAR), Law Enforcement – The BORSTAR Team based in El Centro responded to more 25 incidents involving a search and/or medical rescue of indidviduals stranded in the remote desert areas of the Imperial Valley.  Also, of note were the 48 people who received medical aid and 36 of whom were found in life-threatening situations.

JOSE GARCIA, Youth  – 6th Grader Jose provided life saving assistance to a fellow student who was choking on a piece of food while eating his lunch.  Jose Garcia performed abdominal thrusts which dislodged the food.

 

2008 REAL HEROES

AMANDA & MATT HAGEN, Adult – Amanda Hagen (who was 5 months pregnant at the time) and her husband Matt witnessed car headlights off in a field that as they approached turned out to be an overturned vehicle quickly sinking to the bottom of the canal.  They stopped and called 911 but immediately realized that they needed to take action to try and rescue a person that they saw was still in the driver’s side.  Temperatures were 45-50 degrees in the deep and treacherous canal.  After Amanda realized her husband Matt would need help in extricating the victim – without hesitation she dove in to assist.  They were able to pull him out past the window until paramedics arrived to assist in the extrication.  After the heroic rescue – we were happy to know that in June Amanda gave birth to a healthy baby girl and Dylan a senior at Brawley High School graduated.

 

2009 REAL HEROES

WESTERN MESQUITE GOLD MINES, Company – Even though Western Mesquite Gold Mine is remotely located, the company is making strides in becoming the community’s leader in safety responsibility.  The company has taken multiple measure to ensure that their staff remains safe and is even able to respond in emergencies.  Mesquite Gold Mines has implemented CPR and First Aid certification.  They have also gone above and beyond in safety measures by becoming certified in Emergency Response.  The American Red Cross applauds Western Mesquite Gold Mines on winning the Real Heroes Award in the Company Category, and for adopting the Red Cross mission of safety and preparedness.

 

2009 REAL HEROES (continued)

SILVIA TORRES, Adult – A very special little girl, her neighbor’s child, now calls Silvia Torres “Mama.”  In September 2008, Silvia was at home when she heard her neighbor screaming for help.  Without considering the dangers that could be involved, Silvia rushed to her aid without a second’s hesitation.  Her haste in getting there made all the difference, the situation she was faced with took nothing less than a steel reserve.  Her neighbor’s baby had stopped breathing and the mother was at a loss for what to do.  Silvia immediately took charge and administered infant CPR while trying to calm the panicked mother.  Silvia managed to resuscitate the baby and kept the breathing and comfortable until the paramedics arrived.  Silvia’s quick response to action, her training, her courage and her gentleness saved a baby’s life and reassured a panicked mother.  Because of this act of heroism, the American Red Cross honors Ms. Silvia Torres with a Real Heroes Award in the Adult Category.

 

2010 REAL HEROES

Though we did receive submissions ~ none were selected this year from Imperial Valley  =(

 

2011 REAL HEROES

Who will you nominate? Will they be among our 2009 REAL HEROES that will be honored on Friday, October 13, 2011 on board the USS Midway Museum in San Diego?

 

 

By Mario Conde

The Calexico School Board approved the issuance of bonds in which the renovation of the Calexico Swimming pool could happen.

The board deliberated on this issue at their regular Tuesday meeting in which they discussed approving this resolution that would give the District over $1 Million Dollars in bonds. The board had previously tabled this item since they requested more information about this bond. Trustee Joong Kim asked for a joint City Council-School Board meeting to discuss this item and see how the money would be used. The City of Calexico has issued millions of dollars in bonds for the City projects for economic development and other uses. The bonds for the School District would be used to improve various areas in the Districts.

At last Tuesday’s meeting City Manager Oscar Rodriquez spoke to the board about this bonds and said that this bonds are an urgency item since this might be the last chance the City could issue bonds for the district since the Redevelopment Agencies could be gone anytime.

“Redevelopment Agencies have not been phased out like the Governor wanted so this gives us a window of opportunity to get these bonds and use it for the swimming pool.” Rodriquez said.

Rodriquez said that the Redevelopment Agency survived by only one vote since one Republican Assembly member voted against it. The Acting City Manager said if the board votes to approve these bonds then they can meet on how the money would be used for the District afterwards. Calexico RDA consultant Marshall Lynn said that every week RDA is on the chopping block and said his team will be on the phone the very next morning to get the bonds ready in the next couple of weeks.

“Waiting two more weeks will be a mistake because the monies will not be there anymore and the opportunity would be lost to rebuild the swimming pool.” Lynn warned the board.

Trustee Joong Kim was the only board member against the issuance of the bonds and cited the problems other cities have experience because of bonds. A lot of discussion about the benefit of the bonds took place but in the end the board decided to approve a resolution to go forward with the bonds  with the vote of 4-1 having Trustee Kim being the only vote against it.

 
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