From the daily archives: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CALEXICO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro station arrested two smugglers Saturday with more than 1,600 pounds of narcotics.

The smuggling attempt occurred Saturday night west of Calexico.  Border Patrol agents initiated a vehicle stop on an SUV with blacked out windows and two occupants.  The driver of the vehicle, a 45-year-old Mexican citizen, refused to yield but was stopped by agents after they successfully deployed a controlled tire deflation device.  The driver and passenger, a 25-year-old Honduran citizen, fled their vehicle and attempted to abscond from Border Patrol agents before being arrested in a field of Sudan grass.


Agents discovered several packages of marijuana in the SUV.  The estimated street value of the marijuana is $1,280,000.


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


First Imperial Credit Union helps Ten-year-old Taylor Aguilar fight against cancer by helping her sell, one bracelet at a time.

Diana Peacher(Executive Director of Cancer Resource Center), Taylor Aguilar, Fidel Gonzalez(CEO/President of FICU), Temo De La Torre(CFO/Vice President of FICU), Jennifer Paez(Director of Marketing/BD of FICU), Taylor’s father and grandfather at Check presentation.

After reading an article what Ten-year-old Taylor Aguilar, was doing to help our local Cancer Resource Center of the Desert in our local newspaper, First Imperial Credit Union and their staff could not help themselves in lending a few good hands to the Ten-year-old. FICU employees stepped up to the plate by helping Taylor sell her handmade cancer bracelets to the credit union members, family and friends. After selling 200 bracelets at both of the branches through the month of June, Taylor was able to raise an amount of $1,000. After reaching this amount Taylor seemed happy and full of joy as she shared with us that, “She will continue making and selling “Cancer Bracelets” to help our local cancer patients”.

First Imperial Credit Union would like to thank all employees, members and community for their cancer bracelet donations.

If you are interested in helping our local Cancer Resource Center of the Desert please contact them at (760) 353-6571.



Folsom, CA and Greenwich, CT – July 11, 2011 – Solar Gen 2 LLC (Solar Gen), a private solar development firm, announced today the execution of a 25-year, 150-megawatt (MW) power purchase agreement (PPA) with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  The photovoltaic solar project consists of three separate 50-MW sites where construction should begin during the first quarter of 2012 and expects to be completed by the third quarter of 2012 (Solar Project).  The Solar Project is located on private, fallowed land in the Imperial County, California.


“With SDG&E’s development of the Sunrise line, we and other renewable developers can take advantage of the Imperial County’s vast solar resources to benefit all of California,” said Steve Zaminski, chief executive officer of Solar Gen 2.  “We are pleased and grateful for the confidence placed in us by both SDG&E and the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). This project would not be possible without the leadership and vision of SDG&E’s and IID’s board and management.”


“The clean energy from this project will get delivered to our customers and the Southern California region using the capacity of the Sunrise Powerlink,” said James P. Avery, SDG&E’s senior vice president of power supply.  “With this agreement, we are broadening our partnership with the IID and helping to benefit the economy of the Imperial Valley — a true win-win all around.”


Once built, the Solar Project will provide enough electricity to power as many as 56,000 homes, generating power during the hottest part of the day when electricity demand is the highest.


“This purchase power agreement is an important step in the growth and development of the renewable energy industry in the IID service area, said Kevin Kelley, general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District.  The district looks forward to working with Solar Gen and SDG&E to bring this project to fruition.”


The Solar Project is expected to provide approximately 300 construction jobs and more than 30 permanent jobs in Imperial County, Calif., where the unemployment rate is approximately 30 percent, among the highest in the nation. Imperial County also provides one of the best solar resources in the world.  The facilities will also reduce yearly carbon emissions by an amount equal to displacing over 21,000 cars.


About Solar Gen 2 LLC


Solar Gen is a solar development company focused on developing and acquiring solar projects in North America and with offices in El Centro, CA, Folsom, CA and Greenwich, CT. We are committed to providing sustainable, green energy for an energy independent North America.  More information is available at


About San Diego Gas & Electric


San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) is a regulated public utility that provides service to 3.5 million consumers in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.


About the Imperial Irrigation District


The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) is a publicly-owned utility that provides power and water services to its customers since its formation in 1911.  More information is available at



By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors met this past Tuesday and endorsed a letter in support for new funding for the new Calexico Port of Entry.

The new port of entry that was going to start construction this year was but funding was slashed by Republicans in Congress in order to save money and eliminate the huge budget deficit the country faces right now. The new port of entry will have sixteen lanes and will have the best technology for border security and to decrease border wait times at the Calexico-Mexicali border. The current Port of Entry in downtown Calexico will be only for pedestrians only.

Good news has come since then since lawmakers might approve funding for the new port of entry this Thursday. President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget provides for transfer of $2.2 million dollars from the Federal Highway Administration to General Services Administration to be used for border infrastructure modernization. In a letter sent to the Federal Transportation Commission members, The County Board asks lawmakers to support this transfer of money to GSA since they oversee the maintenance and upgrading border stations on the U.S/Mexico Border.

“The Land Ports of Entry along the Southwestern region needs substantial infrastructure improvements and significant investment.” The letter said and emphasized the fact that 88% of trade comes for the Canadian/Mexican border.

The County said that action needs to be done today or there will be an increase the cost of repairs and will take 40 years to address. Supervisor Gary Wyatt mentioned how many legislators in Washington don’t know anything about the border and how much it benefits the nation’s economy. Chairman Jack Terrazas echoed Wyatt’s comments and explained how Mexico is way ahead of them and they will start of their construction shortly.

The Board approved the letter 4-0 having Supervisor Kelley being absent from this meeting.

In other news, the Board approved a resolution proclaiming the existence of a local emergency due to the severe storm events passed through southern regions of Imperial County.  In a report given by County Fire Chief Tony Rouhotas said that these storms brought heavy rains, winds, and lightning, causing damage to the areas of Imperial County and specifically property belonging to the Imperial Irrigation District. The storm which occurred on the evening of July 7th, damaged over thirty power poles, two power lines and leaving many Calexico residents with now power. There was even damage to one structure, where Imperial Irrigation District fell onto the roof. This damaged is estimated to be at one million dollars. The storm which occurred on the evening of July 10th damaged over 63 power poles, multiple power lines and left many with no power. The damaged from this date is estimated to be one and a half million dollars.




By Mario Conde

Next week at the Women’s Improvement Club a monologue by valley actor, Roy Dorantes, and will have a presentation that will be free to the public.

The dramatic monologue “To Cross the Border” by Roy Dorantes will be presented at the Women’s Improvement Club in Calexico on Thursday, July 21, at 8 p.m. Admission is free but capacity is limited to only eighty people.

The one-man play highlights the plight of an illegal immigrant as he crosses the border with dreams of finding a better life but instead finds himself facing a gauntlet of dangers and trouble in the form of double-crossing “polleros” and tough anti-immigrant laws.  Dorantes has been very successful with this monologue since he has been invited to perform in places like San Diego, Arizona, and Tijuana with great success.

“The idea for the play came to me around the time when Arizona was about to sign the SB-1070 law and people were getting very emotional about it,” Dorantes said. He first intended to make a play just to educate his immediate friends in Mexicali about the implications of the tough Arizona law and of the many dangers that an illegal immigrant faces. “I did it so that they would be better informed. I didn’t want them to just throw rocks without having a broader picture.” Dorantes says that after showing the play a couple of times many people convinced him that he should offer it to the general public and to the schools. So he ventured out of the little café in Mexicali where the play was born and presented it to a packed house at the prestigious Mexicali Center of the Arts (CEART). “People were coming up to me, hugging me, and thanking me for the play. Several told me that it was their story that I was telling. At that point it became a work of love and vision for me.”

Originally the play was titled “To Boycott Arizona?” but recently Dorantes decided to change the title. “Some people thought I was calling for a boycott of Arizona, but that was not the case. The name was just a reference to something that was going on at the time. The new title reflects more my intention of highlighting the experience of the illegal immigrant,” Dorantes explained.

In his monologue, Dorantes blends narrative, poetry, dance, choreography, parody, and moral lesson all into one in order to tell a story that he wants to serve as a warning against crossing the border illegally and also to promote compassion upon those that do it out of desperation. The presentation is free of charge but seating is limited so reservations should be made by contacting the actor at 760-234-1940 or at The Women’s Improvement Club is located at 320 Heber Street, in Calexico, and the doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for those with reservations and at 7:45 p.m. for everybody else.


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