From the daily archives: Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Imperial Valley, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Imperial Valley ports of entry stopped approximately $1 million worth of narcotics from entering the U.S. this weekend.

The first incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. on April 16, at the Andrade port of entry. A CBP officer inspecting vehicles and travelers referred a 38-year-old male Mexican citizen driving a white 1996 Chrysler Town and Country van for further examination.

During the intensive examination, a canine team screened the van and alerted to the interior. CBP officers discovered 11 wrapped packages of methamphetamine and four wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside the dashboard area. The total weight of the narcotics was 23 pounds with a street value of approximately $231,000.

CBP officers arrested the driver, a lawful permanent resident of Calexico, California, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The second incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. on the same day at the Calexico downtown port of entry. CBP officers inspecting travelers in the pedestrian processing area noticed an 18-year-old male Mexican citizen displaying suspicious behavior with an unusual bulge on his lower back.

During a closer inspection of the traveler, CBP officers found three wrapped packages of methamphetamine taped to the traveler’s lower back and one package concealed underneath the traveler’s waist band. The methamphetamine weighed four pounds, with a street value of approximately $44,000.

CBP officers arrested the traveler, a lawful permanent resident of Heber, California, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

The third incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on April 17, at the Calexico downtown port. A canine team alerted to a grey 2008 Dodge Nitro as the driver waited in line for inspection. CBP officers escorted both driver and vehicle for further examination.

During an intensive inspection of the vehicle, CBP officers found 20 wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside a non-factory roof compartment. The methamphetamine weighed about 65 pounds, with a street value of approximately $715,000.

CBP officers arrested the driver, a 29-year-old male U.S. citizen and resident of Los Angeles, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

In all three incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles and turned the drivers over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The drivers were transported to the Imperial County Jail where they await arraignment.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the Mexican citizens to initiate removal from the U.S. at the conclusion of their criminal proceedings.


Clout? What Clout?

The city suffered through an earthquake that damaged enough buildings to make it a major disaster – at least locally.
But a year later some of the damage hasn’t been repaired and some attention by the federal government is needed. That brought Senator Barbara Boxer here to inspect the city’s water treatment plant and the water tanks that support it.
“This is unacceptable,” she said about the damage and the long delay in getting it fixed. Well, a month later it’s still not fixed and it’s still unacceptable.
I got a press release from FEMA, The Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying that federal funds are being sent to northern California to assist those who suffered damage from the tsunami that struck Japan and sent waves crashing across the sea.
Obviously, somebody isn’t paying attention to Calexico when some minor damage on the coast gets some immediate attention and we sit here waiting and waiting and waiting.
Well, in the scheme of California voting, Calexico is pretty small compared to the area around San Francisco. A Senator would do well to prioritize appropriations based on votes received.
But, Calexico also lost out when funding for a new Port of Entry  at the end of Cesar Chavez Boulevard went down the drain with the current budget cuts.
Where was Congressman Filner when it came to helping out in this matter? He sent a note to the President, but that seems like a mighty small gesture for such a big project.
It would have provided 16 new Sentri lanes and eased the congestion that piles up on weekends  at the POE.
After more months of protesting and meeting you’d think the city would get a better response from its elected leaders. Somebody at City Hall needs to get better relationships with the federal delegation representing this part of the state. They need to put pressure on those people to deliver something besides empty promises too.
There’s more to  getting the economy going in a city than simply cutting everybody’s salaries and throwing out worthwhile programs. The city, and the border region, need more exposure in Washington if the funding for these projects is going to be secured and  Calexico isn’t lost in a cloud of political dust.
I’d be happy to hear from someone who can tell me what the city is doing to improve relations at the federal level. That would appear to be the only way they are going to get something moving forward again with regard to the economy.
Only one person asked about the Port of Entry when Boxer was here. Since she was on her way to dedicate a new POE in San Ysidro it was a legitimate question.
That was County Supervisor John Renison. He was told she was unfamiliar with the Calexico POE and he should send her a letter. Well, gosh, we wonder if he did.
Life is lonely down here at the bottom of the totem pole.
WHO WOULD EVER THINK $4.00 PER GALLON GASOLINE would be upon us. Some people are even predicting $5.00 per gallon by this summer.
Really? Whose in charge here? Is anybody in Washington, or Sacramento paying attention to the price of oil? Does anybody there care?
We’re not sure President Obama cares. We saw him on an evening news show saying “we want to find a lasting solution to the high price of gasoline.”
The last time I heard the “Lasting Solution” line was around the time of the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon was telling us to “stay the course.” Well, the course wasn’t a good one. And Obama quoting old political cliches doesn’t do much good for my confidence when it comes to the government doing anything about helping out us poor consumers. They could find the time and money to help out Goldman Sachs and the other bankers, but suddenly they don’t know the public is here when we need them.
Obama has shown a strong lack of leadership when he doesn’t have a speech writer near by. First we’re encouraged to buy cars through government incentives. Then the government buys a stake in a car company (General Motors) Now it turns its back on us when the price is artificially being manipulated by the same people manipulated housing prices and brought about the recession. Hello, Washington!
Is anybody paying attention to us poor folk in Imperial Valley?


By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved Tuesday to apply for California Community Development Block Grant for planning and technical assistance grants.

Calexico is looking for CDBG funding for a maximum $140,000 dollars to benefit the targeted income group, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; meet other community developments needs having a particular urgency because of existing conditions that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community; and other financial resources are not available to meet such needs. When the funds are available for the City, a study would be made to see what areas will the fund be used. The survey will show what areas the City would target such as public safety, homeless shelters, and parks.

Councilman Bill Hodge said that there are a lot of houses that are not in good condition and suggested the funding is targeted to improving housing in some specific areas. Calexico Police Chief Neujahr said that these funds would be beneficial for a new fire station in the north end of the City since the City has grown to that area. Neujahr said that by having a new sub-station in the north area there would a better response time in case of an emergency.

In other news, the council authorized the City Manager to sign amendment between the City of Calexico and Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for additional engineering consulting services for the Solar Street Light Replacement Project. The change was made due to the fact the City has a remaining balance of $54,237.67, Utility Services Department Staff would like to use the remaining fund to install Light Emitting Diode (LED) light fixtures on existing bus stops/shelters as well as existing street lights north of City Hall.

For this reason, the City Manager requested Kimley-Horn and Associates to perform the following additional services: Conduct field review of existing streets light locations and prepare improvement plans for retro fitting the existing street lights.

On September 2009, the Utility Services Department obtained a grant in the amount of $157,200 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficient and Conservation Block Grant Program for replacement of 28 existing light fixtures at Rockwood Park and City Hall.

Finally, the Council approved a resolution authorizing the City Manger to enter into professional service agreements with Hogan, Guiney, Dick for legal services related to RDA lawsuits and certain RDA projects. The contract will contain hourly rates for the services to be used by RDA/City on an as-needed basis. The Cost will be paid solely RDA tax increment funds.




By Bob Hurst

Troy Tulowitzki finally ran into a pitcher who could cool him off. Tulowitzki, who has been ripping the ball early this season, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum on Monday night, an 8-1 win for the Giants over Colorado.

That snapped the Colorado shortstop’s eight-game hitting streak, but don’t expect Tulowitzki to have too many 0-for’s this season.

Tulowitzki came into Tuesday’s game batting .345, leading the major leagues with seven home runs and tied for fourth with 14 RBIs. His slugging average of .793 was second to the Yankees Alex Rodriguez.

The Rockies bolted to the top of the NL West standings thanks to a franchise-best start of 11-2, which included a seven-game winning streak. In a four-game sweep over the New York Mets last week, Tulowitzki went 10-for-16 (.625) with four homers, eight RBIs, five runs scored and four walks.

“When he gets hot, he’s a very, very dangerous player,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Not only is Tulowitzki a threat to opposing pitchers, he’s solid in the field too. In a 7-6 win over the Mets on April 11, the 2010 Gold Glove winner helped Colorado maintain a tie with a twisting throw to first on a play at short in the seventh. His two-run homer in the eighth put the Rockies up 7-4.

“It’s weird,” Tulowitzki said of his fielding play. “It just kind of happens when you’ve played this game for a long time. It’s a big momentum shift and it definitely played a big part.”

Castro making his mark: Another shortstop who is excelling early is the Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro. He went into Tuesday’s game batting .408 with seven RBIs, 14 runs scored and a .432 on-base percentage.

Castro, who is starting his first full major league season after getting called up last year, helped end Colorado’s seven-game winning streak on Saturday night with a three-run homer in seventh inning. He went four-for-five in the Cubs 8-3 win.

The leadoff spot in the order has been a perfect fit for Castro, who was hitting .536 at the top of the lineup after Saturday’s victory.

“I’m ready,” Castro said. “I came into the season thinking I would do this, so it’s no surprise.”

Castro, 21, the youngest player in the majors, had nine multi-hit games at the start of this week. His 115 hits since last year’s All-Star break are the most in the majors.

Please explain? Why would a major league pitcher who is making $425,000 this season take six t-shirts worth a total of $59.88 without paying for them?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested and charged for shoplifting at a downtown Cincinnati department store on Monday, about two hours before reporting to Great American Ball Park. Police reports said that Leake removed the price tags from the American Rag t-shirts at a Macy’s store and tried to leave without paying for them.

The first-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum of 180 days in jail.

Leake, who started Saturday’s game, getting the 11-2 win over Pittsburgh, said in a statement that he apologized to his family, to the club and to fans “for this distraction.”

This season, Leake is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA after going 8-4, 4.23 last year.

StatsWatch: The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t the best hitting team in the major leagues, ranking 17th with a .253 average, but they have two players in the top 10 in batting and three in the top 25. Here they are, plus stats through Monday:

  • Matt Kemp, leading the majors with a .459 batting average (28-for-61); 11 hits in five games through Monday.
  • Andre Ethier, ninth in batting at .369 (24-for-65); 15-game hitting streak.
  • Jamey Carroll, 21st with a .340 average (18-for-53); hit in six of seven games.

Diamond Notes: Giants LHP Barry Zito was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, a day after he left his start with a right mid-foot sprain…Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who is on the DL, apparently isn’t suffering from bilateral leg weakness after all. Instead, tests showed that Mauer’s soreness was caused by the flu bug…After missing nearly a year following microfracture surgery on his left knee, Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore returned to action on Sunday, getting two hits, including a home run, in a 4-2 victory over Baltimore. He went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI in his second game back on Monday, a 7-3 win over the Royals…A’s pitcher Dallas Braden has been put on the DL with a stiff left shoulder…Florida’s Gaby Sanchez went into Tuesday’s game reaching base in all 14 games this season, extending his streak to 18 dating back to last year.

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


As technology continues to shape the future of healthcare, it is important for healthcare consumers to be aware of potential security and privacy risks. Continuing its commitment to address these growing issues surrounding the privacy and security of health information, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) will sponsor (with the support of Crowe Horwath) the seventh annual Health Information Privacy and Security Week, April 11 through 17. This year’s theme is “United in a Mission to Protect Information.”


Pioneers Memorial Hospital strives to cultivate a community of informed consumers and believes that quality healthcare through quality information is the key to protection. This wisdom can be achieved through collaboration among professionals and healthcare consumers to ensure readiness, action, and a united response to privacy and security issues.


Health Information Privacy and Security Week promotes awareness of the critical need for healthcare professionals, institutions, and consumers to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information. As providers inch toward electronic record-keeping systems, consumers must remain vigilant in monitoring their rights and ever-evolving government regulations. Knowledge, plus a complete, accurate personal health record (PHR), can both enhance quality of care and empower an individual to remedy privacy violations. Visit for detailed consumer health information and consumer privacy rights.


While the $440 billion Medicare system is the ultimate goldmine for some criminals, many obtain their stolen rewards by hacking into individual health records. According to CNN, stolen medical information and the resulting fraud costs US taxpayers $100 billion annually. Louis Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-fraud Association, says that healthcare identity theft dominated all other health-sector crimes in 2009. Victimized patients must pick up the pieces, challenging fraudulent bills and inaccurate medical information. An MIT Response Checklist developed by AHIMA provides free response guidance for victims of this crime. To access the checklist, visit, click on the “Privacy + PHRs” button, then on “Avoiding Medical Identity Theft.” A link to the checklist appears at the bottom of the page.


The health information management professionals at Pioneers Memorial Hospital can provide educational assistance for the protection and confidentiality of your personal health information.

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