From the daily archives: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

By Bob Hurst

If the Los Angeles Dodgers plan was to win every series this season, they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start than to take three of four against the San Francisco Giants in the opening series at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 on Opening Day followed by a 4-3 win, 10-0 loss and 7-5 victory in the series finale on Sunday. It was the first time that the Dodgers won three of four over the Giants since 2001.

“That’s the plan, try to win every series,” Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp said. “I know we can’t win every game, but we can try to win every series.”

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw held San Francisco to a run on four hits and one walk while striking out nine in seven innings in last Thursday’s opener. Matt Kemp scored the go-ahead run in the sixth on a throwing error by Giants catcher Buster Posey, and scored again in the eighth on a double by James Loney. Don Mattingly won his debut as Dodgers manager.

Los Angeles made it two straight on Friday behind Chad Billingsley. Rafael Furcal singled in the go-ahead run in that game. After getting rocked on Saturday (Ted Lilly gave up four runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings), the Dodgers finished the series on top on Sunday.

Marcus Thames, who arrived in L.A. as a free agent after hitting a career-high .288 with the New York Yankees last season, drove in the lead run on a triple in a four-run seventh.

Thames got a little help from Aubrey Huff in right field, who turned the deep fly ball into an adventure. Huff also misplayed Jamey Carroll’s liner in the first inning by diving for the ball that got under his glove for a run-scoring triple. Kemp then homered for a 3-0 lead.

“It’s not like I was trying to screw them up,” said Huff, who played most of his games at first base last season. “I was trying my best to catch them. Those plays aren’t easy.”

Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton got his third save on Sunday, the 80th of his career. He didn’t get his third save last year until May 9, in game 31.

“We’re winning, so I’m happy,” Broxton said.

Roberts, O’s off to hot start: As Brian Roberts goes, so may go the Baltimore Orioles, who picked up from last season’s strong finish to start 4-0 this year.

Roberts had a hit in each of his first four games, with two homers and eight RBIs.

“Robby seems to have been able to dial up what was needed, whether it be a stolen base, a walk whatever,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s really had some big hits for us early in the year.”

Where are the fans? The Cleveland Indians set records for lowest attendance at Progressive Field in consecutive games on Saturday and Sunday. After an Opening Day crowd of 41,721 last Friday, paid attendance was 9,853 on Saturday, setting a new club record at the ball park. That mark was short-lived when Sunday’s attendance was announced at 8,726, another new low at Progressive. The Indians lost two of three to the Chicago White Sox.

Broom, please: There were four sweeps of season-opening series. Baltimore took its series 3-0 over host Tampa Bay as Zach Britton won his major league debut on Sunday; Texas hit four solo home runs on Sunday to sweep its three-game series with Boston; Ryan Howard homered and knocked in four runs in Philadelphia’s victory on Sunday, winning its series in three over Houston, and Ryan Hanigan hit two homers on Sunday as Cincinnati completed its 3-0 sweep over Milwaukee.

Quotable: “I want to make this pledge to Mets fans — our team will play the game the right way. We will always hustle on the bases, run balls down in the outfield and never take anything for granted, no matter the score of the game. — New manager Terry Collins’ letter to Mets fans prior to the team’s season opener.

Diamond Notes: Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with a strained left oblique muscle and might miss three or more weeks…Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday, who underwent an appendectomy last Friday, could return to the lineup this weekend. Holliday asked not to go on the DL. He went 3-for-4 with a home run in an Opening Day loss to San Diego…Minor league outfielder Preston Mattingly, the son of Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly, was released by the Indians over the weekend…Texas Rangers’ Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz became the first pair of teammates to homer in each of the first three games in a season…Mark Teixeira became the first Yankee to hit a home run in each of the season’s first three games since Dave Winfield in 1983.

Copyright © 2011  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


By Chris Furguson
On Tuesday, April 5, the City of Brawley held a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming Fire Department substation at its location on the corners of Eastern and Jones Avenues near the Brawley Airport.
City department heads, as well as much of the Brawley Fire Department and other local groups, were on hand to watch the first ceremonial shovels put to into the ground.
The incoming $2.2 million, 24-hour full service facility will feature room for two trucks, sleeping quarters for up to twelve people, an exercise bay and a patio area.  It will also have room for administration and similar services.
Plenty of thanks were going around, especially to Building Official Francisco Soto, who worked through the CDBG department to find funds, and to former mayor Ryan Kelley, who spent much of his term focusing city staff on the project.
Thanks also went to Duggins Construction, who won the bid to build the station, the architect, Tony Finaldi of STK Architecture, and City Manager Gary Burroughs.
Speeches were also given by City Mayor Don Campbell and all Brawley council members along with Mike Mordah, who represented Duggins Construction.
Tuesday’s groundbreaking was the latest step in a process that has taken more than 60 years to complete, when back in 1948 then Chief Leroy Jones said that Brawley needed a second substation.
“Chief Jones was chief for 24 years and he was fighting for one back then,” explained current Brawley Fire Chief Frank Contreras.  “I’ve been chief for 19 years and I’ve trying to get done and it’s finally coming.”
The current phase of the project began in 2006, when the then council heard chose the location for an eventual station, beating locations on the southwest portion of town near Pioneers Hospital and a location on the west side of the city.
The airport location also beat a site just south of Main Street on Eastern Avenue.
The location on the east side of the city of Brawley was also chosen because the current station could not meet state recommended response times.  Additionally, a stopped train could force firefighters to drive as much as 10 minutes around the city to reach citizens.
Council member Ryan Kelley then made the substation a main focus of his term as mayor in 2009-2010.  Delays in the project came when the state raided community RDA funds in May of last year and took around $660,000 in city funds that could have gone to the project.
Had the RDA not been raided by the state, construction could have began as early as May of 2010.
Funds found by Soto included a program income waiver received in September 2010.  A grant that state officials claimed Brawley was a shoo-in for was rejected at around the same time.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Stanton Street international crossing at the El Paso port of entry made an ammunition and weapons magazine seizure Tuesday, March 29.

click for hi-res
CBP officers working at the Stanton international crossing seized 148 AK-47 magazines, one M4 magazine and 6,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in the upper front roof compartment of 1999 Chevrolet Express conversion van on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.
CBP officers working at the Stanton international crossing seized 148 AK-47 magazines, one M4 magazine and 6,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in the upper front roof compartment of 1999 Chevrolet Express conversion van on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.

The seizure was made at about 4:55 p.m. while CBP officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents were conducting southbound operations at the Stanton crossing. CBP officers selected a 1999 Chevrolet Express conversion van for an intensive exam. The driver of the vehicle said he had nothing to declare during routine questioning by a CBP officer.

The vehicle was taken to an inspection area where an extensive exam of the vehicle was conducted. CBP officers discovered 148 AK-47 magazines, one M4 magazine and 6,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in the upper front roof compartment of the vehicle.

“CBP officers at the Port of El Paso are working hard to disrupt the criminal smuggling organizations’ activity. This is another good example of our officers’ vigilance and attention to detail,” said Barry Miller, CBP assistant port director El Paso, Texas. “Our ongoing southbound inspections have resulted in seizures of weapons, ammunition, tactical equipment, unreported currency, stolen property, and the apprehension of fugitives and people who were in the country illegally.”

The driver, 38-year-old Jose Guadalupe Hernandez Loya was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents after federal prosecution was accepted. Hernandez Loya is a Mexican National who resides in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He remains in the El Paso County jail without bond.

CBP Field Operations is responsible for securing our borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism; they screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States. Their mission also includes carrying out traditional border-related responsibilities, including narcotics interdiction, enforcing immigration law, protecting the nation’s food supply and agriculture industry from pests and diseases, and enforcing trade laws.

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