From the daily archives: Monday, April 11, 2011

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced the unsealing today of a one-count indictment charging 10 defendants with conspiracy to commit sports bribery, to operate an illegal sports bookmaking service, and to distribute marijuana. The indictment alleges that the defendants enriched themselves by operating an illegal sports bookmaking business and distributing marijuana, and with their criminal proceeds, conspired to bribe National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college basketball players to alter the outcome of games so that the defendants could profit by betting on the games at Las Vegas, Nevada casinos.

A federal grand jury sitting in San Diego handed up the indictment on April 8, 2011. The defendants include a former assistant coach at the University of San Diego (USD), and two former college basketball players, including Brandon Johnson. The indictment alleges that Johnson, while he was playing for USD, took a bribe to influence the result of a game in February 2010. It is further alleged that in January 2011, Johnson solicited an individual to affect the outcome of USD basketball games.

Thaddeus Brown and Brandon Dowdy are also charged in the indictment. Brown is a former assistant USD basketball coach, having coached during the 2006-2007 season. Dowdy played at USD during the 2006 2007 season, and then later played at the University of California Riverside from 2008-2010. The indictment alleges that in February 2011, Brown and Dowdy solicited an individual to affect the outcome of a college basketball game at UCR.

According to court documents, Steve Warda Goria, Paul Joseph Thweni, and Richard Garmo, residents of San Diego County, orchestrated multiple criminal schemes, including the sports bribery scheme involving Johnson, Brown, and Dowdy. The indictment further alleges that others charged assisted Goria, Thweni, and Garmo by managing sports books, collecting outstanding gambling debt, and distributing marijuana. The profits gained from these criminal activities financed the college basketball bribery scheme.

United States Attorney Duffy said, “The drug trafficking and sports betting charged in this case were organized and substantial and reflect diversification of criminality that we will not tolerate. Whether in the area of politics, law, or sports, the phrase “the fix was in” sends chills down the spine of all Americans. Our country is rooted in, and values, fair competition and success based on hard work and self-sacrifice. Tampering with sporting events strikes at the integrity of the games; this kind of betrayal is not merely disappointing—it is criminal and worthy of prosecution.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “The FBI aggressively pursues all areas of organized crime. The sporting industry in the United States is a multi-billion-dollar a year business. If games are thrown by a small number of greedy individuals who are only hoping to line their own pockets, the entire industry can suffer if the populace believes games are fixed. Therefore, the FBI will continue to pursue those who engage in this type of criminal activity.”

Agents from the FBI arrested Brandon Johnson in Houston, Texas on April 9, 2011. He is expected to make an initial appearance before a Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Texas. The defendants arrested in San Diego should be arraigned in federal court in San Diego on April 12, 2011, before United States Magistrate Judge Louisa S. Porter.

Defendants, Criminal Case No. 11CR1345AJB

Steve Warda Goria Age: 32 Chula Vista, CA
Paul Joseph Thweni Age: 26 Chula Vista, CA
Richard Francis Garmo Age: 32 El Cajon, CA
Thaddeus James Brown Age: 32 El Cajon, CA
Brandon Johnson Age: 24 Houston, TX
Richard Thweni Age: 28 El Cajon, CA
David Gates Age: 34 Unknown
Lilian Goria Age: 38 El Cajon, CA
Brandon Lamar Dowdy Age: 22 San Diego, CA
Jake Salter Age: 23 Garberville, CA

Summary of Charges

Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Sports Bribery, Conduct an Illegal Gambling Business, and Distribute Marijuana – Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 Maximum penalties: five years in prison and $250,000 fine

Investigating Agency

Federal Bureau of Investigation

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


The Center for Autism and Related Disorders has announced it will now offer its charitable initiative to schools across the world, and provide free web-based tools to treat, track and help recover children from autism.

WORLDWIDE, April 11, 2011 —- The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD) today announced the extension of the Skills 4 America™ grant program to administrators worldwide in order to make universal access to effective autism treatment a reality. Skills 4 America began as a nationwide grant program to provide one-year scholarships for Skills, a breakthrough web-based program for assessing and designing treatment curricula for students with autism and other developmental disorders. CARD expects to award the Skills 4 America grant to every applicant who meets the minimum criteria.

To be eligible, schools:

·       Must provide evidence of need

·       Must be K-12

·       Must be proficient in oral and written English

·       Must complete a free, 30-minute Skills webinar

Administrators can apply for the 2011 Skills 4 America grant by first registering online at to attend a free, 30-minute Skills webinar. The webinar will be held on April 21 at 3:30 pm (EST). Following the webinar, attendees will receive a code and link to apply for the Skills 4 America grant.

“There are many schools around the world that have reached a critical point in addressing developmental disability needs,” says Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D, founder and executive director of CARD and co-creator of Skills. “We are confident this grant program will not only address this concern, but also enhance our long-standing efforts to encourage and support educators and fellow practitioners who are working to help children with autism and related disorders reach their full potential.”

Dr Granpeesheh adds, “My initial intent in developing Skills was to empower both parents and educators. I wanted to provide the highest quality training, the most accurate assessment, and the most comprehensive curriculum for students with autism. Skills 4 America goes one step further by placing autism before profits. We believe that the future of a child with autism should not be dictated by whether or not their parents can afford the necessary tools the child needs to reach their full potential.”

Skills features:

·       BCBA mentorship from BCBA clinical support staff (additional fees apply)

·       Access to the most comprehensive assessment and curriculum in the world for students with autism

·       Extras such as lesson plans, teaching guides, visual aids, worksheets, tracking forms, IEP goals and benchmarks, and access to online support

·       The ability for teachers to track skill acquisition, at the operant and activity level, as well as the effects of challenging behavior and alternative treatments on each student’s progress

·       Tracking of known and newly mastered skills, as well as progress-tracking charts

The Skills 4 America grant is administered through Autism Care and Treatment (ACT) Today!, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to raise awareness as well as provide treatment services and support to help children with autism achieve their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit

“Autism is an urgent matter not only in the US, but around the world, and it requires our attention,” says Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, executive director of ACT Today!. “We can do something about it. We are proud to offer Skills 4 America in partnership with the world’s largest organization that is effectively treating children with autism.”

About the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD):
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders is among the world’s largest and most experienced organizations effectively treating children with autism and related disorders. CARD operates 20 satellite offices throughout the United States and abroad and has treated tens of thousands of children around the world.

CARD is committed to scientific research as the most objective and reliable approach to evaluating treatment for autism. Our mission is to conduct empirical research on the assessment and treatment of autism and to disseminate our research findings and derived technology through publication and education of professionals and the public. While the primary focus of our research is ABA-based methods of assessment and treatment, our overall approach to research includes any topic that may yield information that could potentially improve the lives of individuals with autism. For more information about the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, visit:


Use of Cloud Computing Technology for Sharing Radiology Studies and Reports Expedites Treatment

EL CENTRO, Calif. – April 11, 2011 – ECRMC announced today that it is now using a leading cloud-based technology for sharing imaging studies and reports with outside medical facilities.

The technology, called eMix, is improving the efficiency of patient file sharing, which allows for quicker treatment and improved care. This technology will speed up the treatment of trauma patients ECRMC sends to UCSD Medical Center by getting crucial imaging data to UCSD physicians much faster than with previous offline methods.

In addition, all local physicians can use the same technology to share patient information with the hospital quickly and accurately. The only technological requirement is that both facilities have a broadband Internet connection. There is no software or hardware for any eMix user to purchase or maintain.

eMix (Electronic Medical Information Exchange) makes it possible to securely send radiology images and patient reports to outside facilities in just a few minutes. The process requires only a few simple mouse clicks on a computer, much like sending an email.

Before the hospital began using cloud-based file-sharing, ECRMC transferred radiology files by copying them to CD and sending them with the patient in the ambulance or air transport, during trauma situations. The process, although common in hospitals nationwide, is several times slower than the cloud-based system. Sometimes, CDs can be lost in transit, requiring the patient to be re-imaged, which can expose the patient to extra radiation and delayed treatment.

“In trauma situations, the patients whose condition may be extremely critical are sent to UCSD,” said Andrea Green, MD, head of the ECRMC emergency department.  “If diagnosis and treatment can be expedited, it can make the difference in saving a life. Sending imaging files electronically in advance of the patient’s arrival at UCSD instead of burning the files to a CD saves a lot of time, so I believe the clinical implications are substantial.”

File transfers with eMix have been trouble-free so far. In addition, the physicians at outside agencies can receive the files before the patient is seen, so they are prepared to begin treatment much sooner.

“We have used the process now with several trauma patients and it has been easy, fast and completely dependable,” said Susan Stout-Pierce, BS, RT(R), PACS/RIS Administrator-Imaging Services at ECRMC. “This is a clear example of information technology that improves patient care and increases patient safety.”

About eMix

eMix is a business venture incubated by DR Systems, one of the most respected names in healthcare information systems. Electronic Medical Information Exchange (eMix) is cloud-based technology developed for sharing medical imaging studies and reports between disparate healthcare facilities and physicians with the speed and simplicity of email. eMix will also facilitate the inclusion of patient images into Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and patients’ Personal Healthcare Records (PHRs).

The business-to-business capability of eMix will be followed with the launch of a patient portal for business-to-consumer data exchanges, as well as a long-term storage feature with highly flexible user-driven storage rules and options. For more information, visit or call 877-EMIX-MED (877-364-9633).


Egg Hunt April 23, 2011   9 a.m.

Holt Park
121 W. 5th St.
Holtville, CA

Holtville is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt in the beautiful Holt Park (shown in photo)  in the center of the town square. Bring your baskets, kids, and hunt for eggs and candy at this fun event on the shaded lawns near Civic Center where there will be egg-citement for all ages.

Located in Imperial County, Holtville’s Egg Hunt is a time honored tradition that delights children and parents who remember hunting for eggs when they were young.  The city’s oldest park is the ideal sport for this event. There are picnic tables under the shade trees, and weather is beautiful–usually in the mid-80’s during the time the event is held.

Bring cameras because the Easter Bunny could make a guest appearance and if he hops into town, you won’t want to miss out.


By Gene Carl

El Centro Zumba Dancers Raquel Valencia, Julia Contreras, Dulce Santoyo and Eva Navarro

The Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Community Foundation held its 4th Annual “Dancing With The Stars” event at the Barbara Worth Country Club in Holtville Friday night, April 8th,  from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Tickets were $75 each and approximately 500 people from the area attended the event. There was a silent auction, dinner, the dancing competition and a performance by the El Centro Zumba Dancers. The IVROP Community Foundation fund raiser is a non-profit organization that provides financial scholarships to high school students who wish to go to college or trade school.

According to Efrain Silva, the President of the IVROP Community Foundation, “Last year $9,000 worth of scholarships were awarded to more than 12 individuals from Imperial County. All of the proceeds of this event go to the scholarship fund. Nothing is taken off the top for administration. All the money goes to the students. Mary N. Camacho came up with the idea. We didn’t have a primary fundraiser event. We were doing multiple events at the time. We wanted one event where people could come out and enjoy an evening and dress up and have fun with some local VIP’s. We’ve issued over 45 scholarships since the inception of our foundation in 2004.”

Mary N. Camacho, the Superintendant of IVROP stated, “We really want the kids to have a post-secondary education. We really appreciate all the support that we get. We hope to provide $10,000 worth of scholarships to the youth of Imperial County this year. The scholarships range from $500 to $1,000. IVROP has many programs from pre-schooler’s to high school students and adults as well as veterans. We provide the skills so people can get jobs and be self-sufficient.

The El Centro Zumba Dancers received an enthusiastic response from all in attendance. They performed a series of moves with music and showed how exercise can be fun. The Zumba dancers consisted of  Raquel Valencia, Julia Contreras, Dulce Santoyo and Eva Navarro.

The judges for the Dancing With The Stars event consisted of: Captain Russ Thompson, commanding officer of the NAF El Centro, Chief Jim McGinley, Chief of Police for the City of El Centro, Ruth Montenegro, assistant superintendant of ECESD and Nancy Rood, principal and teacher of Westside School

The Salsa Competition consisted of six couples who performed a 3 to 5 minute dance routine. The judging criteria for the Judge’s Choice Awards consisted of six areas. Timing: The couple’s timing and the music’s timing must match to ensure a flow. Posture: Proper posture helps the couple look graceful and elegant and confident. Posture also refers to “line.” The line refers to the line of your body from head to toe. The line can make or break any ballroom dancer. Whether curved or straight, good lines will make you look graceful and elegant. Power: Energy is one of the most important things in dancing. Presentation: The judges will be looking not only for how the teams appear to them but how they sell themselves to the audience. Are the couples enthusiastic, happy and confident? It has to show that they appear assured and confident. Costume: The attire will be judged on originality. Overall appearance will also be judged.

The six couples entered in the Dancing With The Stars event included: Carlton and Alma Hargrave, Alicia Armenta and Jaciel Arballo, Clyde Shields and Jessi Preciado, Jay Jimenez and Marcela Miranda, Ryan Kelley and Adriana Lopez and Jean Oswalt and Alfonso Villalobos.

The People’s Choice Award went to Jean Oswalt and Alfonso Villalobos.

The Judge’s Choice Award went to Alicia Armenta and Jaciel Arballo

Probably the best quote of the night among the contestants came from Carlton Hargrave who said, “The last dancing lesson I received came when someone taught me how to do the Hokey Pokey.”

Jay Jimenez said, “For two months I worked out, spent a lot of time on the treadmill and did aerobics. I lost 25 pounds!”

Ryan Kelley, who is on the Brawley City Council, told everyone that he only had two dancing lessons prior to the event. All things considered, he did a pretty good job. If there was a Two Lesson Choice Award, he probably would have won it.

Dress for the event was suit and tie and even tuxedos for the men and the ladies wore various dresses from local boutiques as well as from Rodeo Drive. It looked like everyone was attending a state dinner at the White House.

The Dancing With The Stars sponsors included: Rogers and Rogers, Western Mesquite Mines, Inc., National Beef, Ormat, Imperial Printers, Brawley Inn, Rabobank, Sun Community Federal Credit Union and Community Valley Bank.

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