From the daily archives: Thursday, May 26, 2011

By Luke Phillips
Chocolate milk, a long-time staple in school cafeterias around the country, has come under attack recently with a state-wide ban being considered in Florida and a district-wide ban being considered in Los Angeles, but Holtville cafeteria administrator Isabel Jesse says the sweet treat won’t be leaving Holtville schools any time soon.
Those trying to ban chocolate milk blame the added sugar in the drink for skyrocketing obesity rates in students, but Jesse says the nutrients gained from the milk are worth the extra sugar.
“It would have nutritional consequences,” she said. “Even if we replaced the milk with juice you wouldn’t be getting the nutrients you need from the milk.”
Jesse says the chocolate milk served in Holtville schools is non-fat, but has 25 grams of sugar for each 8 ounce carton. When compared with soda, which has about 35 grams of sugar per each 12 ounce can, chocolate milk has nearly the same amount of added sugar.
Right now students have a choice every day of chocolate milk, white milk and water and Jesse reports that chocolate milk is by far the most popular option.
At Finley elementary, the largest school in the district, Jesse says about 450 cartons of chocolate milk are served every day as opposed to about 45 cartons of white milk.
“We’ve tried only serving white milk and the students just won’t take it,” Jesse said, adding that if chocolate milk were not offered most students would skip the milk altogether, depriving them of essential nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamins C and D.
“It’s also got nine grams of protein,” Jesse said.
Jesse says that to replace the nutrients in one carton of milk it would take 3 or 4 food items.
“To make it up you have to eat all kinds of stuff,” she said.
Jesse says there are currently no plans to remove chocolate milk from Holtville’s schools and she doesn’t think there will be any time soon.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “Unless the district tells me otherwise.”


Chambers of Commerce Have to Tighten Their Belts; Arnold’s Big Publicity Stunt

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE LATELY in Imperial Valley have come under the heavy scrutiny of City Councils in their respective cities.
We could say heavy-handed scrutiny of Chambers, but some of them have lightened up on the deep cuts they want to make to these august bodies.
Why are they making cuts? Well, the same old reason: “We don’t have any money!” How come they don’t have any money? Well, because “we don’t have any business!”
How, I wonder, is a  city supposed to get new business if it limits the amount of funds the business gathering entity gets? Or it plans in a shortsighted manner for an event to draw people that is underfunded and held in a bad location?
Those things have happened during the last several months and you can tell the people who are putting forth the best effort to keep their organization in the back.
Brawley increased its contribution to the Chamber by $15,000 for the next fiscal year. A welcome relief, we’re sure. I’ve always had a special place for the the Brawley Chamber because I served on their Board of Directors for three years. It was generally a good experience.
But you knew big cuts were coming when Nicole Gilles was dropped as the Chamber Director.
What had been a four person office with a fifth person operating the Economic Development Commission, has been turned into a two person office. Granted, the people are topnotch with Ron Hull back from retirement. But with only two people, you know the quality of events is going to diminish or even disappear completely. Anybody hear anything about the Sweet Onion Festival lately?
Over in Calexico, they are looking at alternative sources for finances, including sponsoring “big-money” bingo. That’s bingo with lots of major jackpots that is tied into other games throughout the state of California. That proposal is still pending.
Perhaps these bodies could take some lessons from Holtville, which doesn’t have to worry much about cuts from the city. It never got much to begin with. Most of its money has come from membership dues, the Carrot Festival and donations.
With only $10,000 a year donated by the city for a Chamber of Commerce, there isn’t much to operate with unless they stay on the good side of a lot of businesses.
The city did front the cost of the $20,000 electronic sign which graces Fifth Street at Holt Avenue. Meaning there is a little more than average relations between the two bodies.
But, if the cities want to actually grow their economy they need more than lip service and penny-pinching budgets. That need an all-out effort to compete for dollars and attract industry. So far, the cities, and the county, are batting a very low average at this. Limiting the Chambers isn’t going to help anything. Let’s hope this nonsense started by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, comes or an end soon. The whole state is on the verge of economic collapse thanks to Arnold.
ARNOLD , MEANWHILE, DECIDES HE WANTS to get back into movies and what better to do that than create a scandal around yourself.
His announcement of a child he fostered while married to Maria Schriver sent media types scrambling like a pack of hornets  around a honey pot. This swarm proceeded to treat the story almost with the same zeal as the killing of Osama bin Laden. Somebody needs to calm these TV folks down and tell them this isn’t the story of the century, In Hollywood, it’s almost routine. And Arnold has been fooling around for over 30 years.
Why all the huff and puff? Who knows? Maybe its been a little slow since bin Laden was brought down. We wish the pack of rabid dogs, however, would reign itself in before they hurt each other.
Let’s get back to some real news. Like whatever happened to Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton? Britney who?
GRADUATION IS ALMOST UPON US. San Diego State University had its graduation last week and the schools in the Imperial Valley are wrapping up the school year as we speak.
It will be a long, slow summer for young people, since there won’t be any summer school or programs  directly associated with the schools. Another legacy for Arnold.


The Imperial County Office of Education’s Higher Education Week II was held from May 23 through May 25, targeting high school 11th graders by providing them contact with college recruiters and information they will need as they prepare to apply for colleges and universities in their senior year.
Higher Education Week II, done in coordination with the Imperial County College Going Initiative, will feature a parent-student evening at the Imperial Valley Mall from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 24.
“We encourage 11th grade students and families to attend the Higher Education Week Parent Night at the Imperial Valley Mall Tuesday, May 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.,” said Denise Cabanilla, higher education coordinator for ICOE. “More than 25 college campus recruiters and higher education outreach partners will be present to provide information regarding college admissions, financial aid, and other information as students prepare to apply for college in the fall.”
The parent-student event at the mall will be held in the food court area near Cinemark movie theaters, Cabanilla said.
In addition, participants will have a chance to view a short movie presentation in the theatre on how families can apply to colleges and universities in the fall and on preparing for the transition from high school to college. There will three free viewings of the movie – 5:45 to 6:05 p.m., 6:15 to 6:35 p.m., and 6:45 to 7 p.m.
The May 24 event marks the third time ICOE and the College Going Initiative have teamed with the Imperial Valley Mall for a higher education week.
Earlier this academic year, Higher Education Week I featured a parent-student night at the mall attended by more than 300 families.
“That event was a great success in that it provided an important opportunity to reach out to parents and their children,” said ICOE Superintendent Anne Mallory. “We would like to see even more families attend this event as there is great opportunity for high school juniors to get a clear picture of what they need to accomplish in their senior year to achieve their higher education goals.”
Each year ICOE holds two higher education weeks. The first held in the fall targets high school seniors as they move through the process their senior year of filling out college and university applications and seek financial aid and grants. Then, Higher Education Week II targets the 11th graders so as to prepare them for what they will face as seniors.
Along with the parent-student event, college recruiters and higher education partners will be attending each of the Imperial Valley high schools to share information with the 11th graders.
For more information, see the College Going Initiative website at and for questions about the parent event or about Higher Education Week II, contact the ICOE at 760.312.6618.


As ECRMC honors its dedicated nurses during Nursing week, the hospital is pleased to recognize Avelina Ramirez, RN who has been accepted into the Doctor of Nursing Practice/Family Nurse Practitioner Program (DNP/FNP) at University of San Diego (USD).
Currently an Administrative Nursing Supervisor, Ramirez has been with ECRMC since 1996. She’s held positions in the Intensive Care Unit and Medical Surgical Unit. In addition to her service with ECRMC, Ramirez is an active member of the Imperial Valley Nursing Council and the California Association of Nurse Practitioners – Imperial Valley Chapter. She volunteers her time as a certified long-term care ombudsman for Imperial County since 2007 and regularly volunteers at the Valley Orthopedic Clinic.
“I’m happy to further my education and am grateful to ECRMC for allowing me to do so,” said Ramirez. “My education allows me to give back to the community. I love providing patients the best care possible. My research interests are geared towards evidence-based practice and issues dealing with healthcare policy, health disparities and advanced practice nursing in rural communities.”
Ramirez will begin the DNP/FNP program in Fall of 2011.
El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) is a licensed 165-bed general acute care facility located in El Centro, Calif. ECRMC is committed to providing the community with high quality healthcare as reflected in its mission statement: “To Provide Healthcare Excellence For The Imperial Valley.”
ECRMC is moving forward with the planning and development of the hospital expansion project that will replace the older portion of the hospital. In addition, the hospital is developing a new facility to meet the needs of the Imperial Valley and provide an advanced healthcare facility and service.
ECRMC has recently announced a collaboration with the Oncology and Hematology Center of Imperial Valley to create the El Centro Regional Medical Center Oncology and Hematology Center. Maintaining its commitment to medical technology advancement, the hospital has invested in the da Vinci Si HD Surgical System. The surgery system allows for safe and less intrusive procedures in various surgical fields, including urology, cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology and more.
Effective August 2010, ECRMC partnered with TeamHealth, one of the nation’s leading healthcare staffing organizations, to provide high quality emergency department management and staffing, elevating the hospital’s ER department.


Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District is pleased to announce that BETA Healthcare Group has recognized PMHD as one of the hospitals to achieve BETA’s Quest of Zero OB Initiative in 2010.  We are one of only seven hospitals in California to earn this recognition. This Quest of Zero OB Initiative is based on 100% compliance in meeting the following three criteria:
*    Fetal monitoring interpretation competency for all perinatal professional staff and physicians,
*    Use of current NICHD nomenclature,
*    Multidisciplinary fetal monitor strip review.
“I want to congratulate you and your team at Pioneers Memorial Hospital who were instrumental in achieving BETA’s Quest for Zero OB initiative in 2011,” stated Tom Wander, CEO, BETA Healthcare Group. “You have achieved success in Tier 1 of our two-tier initiative. Your accomplishment and commitment to perinatal patient safety is truly recognized,” continued Wander.
BETA Healthcare Group is a California joint-powers authority that was formed in 1979 to pool the liability claims and losses of district hospitals. Today, BETA is the largest writer of hospital professional liability coverage in the state, serving more than 100 county, district, and nonprofit hospitals and healthcare facilities.
“This recognition is another indication of our physicians’ and nursing staff’s commitment to quality healthcare for all of the residents of Imperial Valley,” stated Marcus Tapia, President, PMHD Board of Directors.  “We continued to applaud the team approach that achieves this type of positive results,” continued Tapia.

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