From the daily archives: Thursday, August 11, 2011

Family vacations are a tradition for millions of families across the globe. Such vacations have declined in number over the last several years, when many families were forced to cut expenses in the midst of a struggling economy.
Though the economy has gradually begun to rebound, families with fresh memories are still reticent to commit to costly vacations. One of the more affordable and family-friendly vacation options is camping. Families get the chance to experience some of nature’s most idyllic settings at a fraction of the cost of expensive resort vacations. But before venturing out in the great outdoors, a family should consider the following tips to ensure their camping vacation is a swimming success.
* Research the weather. Before choosing a campsite, get a firm grasp of what to expect from Mother Nature while you’re there. Research weather patterns and how much the weather can vary during the time of year when you will be vacationing. Does the weather fluctuate significantly during the daytime and nighttime hours? Is rain likely or unlikely? Weather conditions will dictate which gear is necessary for the trip, and families might want to avoid campgrounds that are frequented by rain. Adults might be able to cope with a rainstorm or two, but such conditions may make everyone miserable.
* Find an activity-friendly campground. When looking for a campground, look for one that boasts a lot of activities. Adults might enjoy the simple relaxation of camping, but kids will likely need more to do. Look for a campground that can offer activities the children will like, such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, or even mountain biking.
* Determine who you are as campers. Not all campers enjoy the rustic life of camping. Some need to combine camping with the amenities of modern life, including running water and toilets that flush. Campers should be honest with themselves in regards to their needs in amenities when researching campgrounds. If you and your family will need a shower, consider renting an RV for the trip or choose a campground with accessible showers and restrooms. Veteran campers might scoff at such amenities, but families would likely prefer some combination of roughing it in the wild and modern day living.
* Get the right gear. Entry to many campgrounds is free or nearly free. However, camping gear could cost money. The good thing about camping gear is it’s reusable. If this year’s camping trip is a success, then next year’s trip won’t cost nearly as much. Visit a local camping store and explain your situation, including what you hope to get out of the camping trip and where you’ll be heading. An associate should be able to help you find the right gear for your trip, including a tent, lights, a water filter, cooking materials, and inflatable mattresses. The materials needed for a successful camping trip are many, but again these materials are reusable and can last a lifetime if families choose the right gear.
* Stock up on the essentials. Once you have purchased the right gear, don’t forget to stock up on the other essentials. Particularly during the warmer months, campgrounds can be very hot and insects abound. Be sure to bring adequate amounts of sunscreen and bug spray and apply each liberally every day. Even if the sky is overcast, apply sunscreen to avoid painful sunburn. Other essentials include toilet paper (bring more than you expect to use), bottled water, plates and utensils, and garbage bags. Be sure to bring extra garbage bags to avoid littering in the campground.
* Don’t forget to have fun. Families should emphasize having fun when visiting the campground. Because camping is not a resort-style vacation, it’s up to Mom and Dad to entertain the kids. Bring along a guitar for a campfire sing-a-long, and pack a few board games the family can enjoy under the stars at night. If a nearby park is known for being especially family-friendly, consider it as a campsite. Kids might meet fellow campers their own age and make some new friends.


By Luke Phillips
  Former Holtville resident James Dickie has found a novel way of connecting with his former home town. On Tuesday Dickie launched a group on the Web site Facebook called ‘Holtville, California: Remember When’ and so far the group is doing very well indeed.
In it’s first two days online the group attracted nearly 150 members who posted hundreds memories about growing up and living in Holtville.
Dickie says he got the idea for the group when he saw similar sites for other cities.
“I saw a bunch of these, but I never saw one for Holtville and I thought it’d be a good idea,” Dickie said. “I had no idea how good it would take off.”
Dickie, who now lives in Westville, Oklahoma, was born in Brawley and lived just outside of Holtville until the fifth grade when his family moved north. Dickie eventually returned to Holtville for his senior year of high school, but left again a year later when he joined the U.S. Navy. He says he’s only been back to Holtville once since then, in 1989, when his father, long-time Holtville resident William Edward ‘Flip’ Dickie, passed away.
Dickie says he started the Facebook group as a way to reconnect with his old classmates from Holtville High School where he graduated in 1966. And it must be working. Dickie says  the number of ‘Friends’ on his Facebook account doubled after he launched the page.
“I have a lot of connections in Holtville and it’s a place I’ll always call home,” Dickie said. “I keep finding things that I didn’t remember. It’s just a kick.”
Dickie says the group is set up so that any of its members are authorized to add new members. He encourages all new members to invite other Holtvillites to join in the conversation.
Dickie says he’s been surprised at some of the news from his former hometown including the fact that the old Dairy Queen on Main Street, now Mexico Lindo, had been turned into Arnold’s burger joint.
“I remember thinking ‘what’s an Arnolds?'” Dickie said. “It’s just small things like that. It’s very interesting.”
Dickie is now retired and in his spare time he is leader of the local chapter of the Patriot Guard in Westville, an organization that attempts to block protestors from military funerals. He says he also
events for that group.
“If it’s used right it’s a great communications tool,” he said.
“If I put something up there people can reply and give me opinions right there. It’s faster than email and everybody can see everything that’s already been said. It’s more like a discussion board than email.”

The following are highlights from posts on the ‘Holtville, California: Remember When’ Facebook wall:

Jon Lorensen: ah the “CRUZE” start at the Cirkle K . down Pine , east on main (4th) to? ( dang it can’t remember I think there a church there now) then back up main and on around to the Cirkle K .. again and again. Listen to the radio out of Oklahoma city. checkin out the girls … those were the days.
Sad to say most have gone to their reward that I have know, Bobby Armstrong, Mike Ramos, come to mind. RIP My old friends

Jan Phillips Green: class floats for the carrot carnival parade….all that chicken wire & napkins!

Betty Quigley: i was born in the valley hosp. in holtville in42 delivered by dr. c.e.randolph

Carla Hembree: i remember my gramma going to get water from the artesian spicket across from the cop shop…Shirley Petty Clark: I remember going everywhere on my bike and skate board, until Brenda Sue Sayers was abducted and killed in 1965. Then my freedom was restricted for several months. I’ve thought of her many times throughout the years and I’ve never forgotten her name.

Todd Thornburg: Are you kidding me? Mossy Slides!!!

Larry Cradic: How many learned to dance the night away and swim at Faye Manley’s dance studio?

Lyn Reyor: how about mr hanley an that little truck he use to drive…i remember when i was 4 looking up at him he was the tallest man i ever saw….an melony hanley his daughter was my best friend

James Dickey: The old Ice House on the west end of town, think there was a small trailer park there also. With the ice house behind it.

Chris E Rea: i have strange memories of crawling though small tunnels of some sort near the little league baseball field on the south side of holtville once and sometimes i wonder if that was a dream? anybody remember this type of place/event?

Christine Bryant Scott: Remember “ditch banking”, lol…

James Dickey: In 1966 the FFA held its chapter fair. A steer got loose with a rope on its neck, and some guys had grabbed the rope and were running with it. tripped others as they were trying to get it under control. I remember I was one of the ones tripped LOL.

Shirley Petty Clark: I remember going everywhere on my bike and skate board, until Brenda Sue Sayers was abducted and killed in 1965. Then my freedom was restricted for several months. I’ve thought of her many times throughout the years and I’ve never forgotten her name.


Letter To The Editor

The area of Imperial County/Imperial Irrigation District has a population of about 181,000 people (round figure). The IID has a long-term debt and liability of about $2,500,000,000.  There is also an assumed concept that the water managed by the district belongs to everyone. Now let’s carry that scenario to its logical conclusion.
The federal government, the Bureau of Reclamation, only claims responsibility for delivery of the water, not ownership. The state of California makes no bones about not owning water or any water mitigation liabilities, as is apparent through on-going problems with the Salton Sea. So that must mean, under this theory, that the people living within the boundaries of the Imperial  Irrigation District own the water and assume the long-term debt payments on the borrowed $2.5 billion.
We could break it down between water users and electrical consumers, but we are all tied to IID’s monopoly in one way or another.
So the individual, per capita debt can be rounded out to $14,000 each for every man, woman and child. Are you ready for this? This gives a family of four a debt or mortgage of a combined $56,000 on their property or home!
Add an annual interest rate of 5 percent to the $14,000, and then each individual’s liability rises to $14,700. Whoever forecloses on this long-term IID debt essentially holds a mortgage on a family of four’s home or property for $58,800.
This is just the first of three scenarios that can occur when 70% of the voting public in Imperial County continues to remain ignorant and not vote in our elections.
By the way, do the 30% of you who did vote in the last IID election remember approving this debt???
Orbia Hanks


Celebrate Summer With Us; Is Electricity The New Oil?

OUR SUPER SUMMER CELEBRATION KEEPS ROLLING ALONG. But it will end soon since school will open in just a couple of weeks.
“How I spent my summer vacation” could be the title of this issue as we feature more summer trips and adventures in areas around Imperial Valley.
Nobody but the most hardy wants to stay in these parts this time of year for the obvious reasons. Temperature, humidity, Lazy, sultry days are among them.
We were on our way out of town last Sunday and couldn’t help noticing the lack of people and cars anywhere we went in the Valley.
So we did the prudent thing an joined them on a daytime adventure to San Diego. Where the weather is considered warm to the natives but a great break to us locals.
Read all about it with the other summer ventures of our stalwart news staff.
Then rush off to do some shopping at the Imperial Valley Mall for those back to school buys.
We made one trip to Target and one trip to Wal-Mart. The shelves were pretty picked over by the time we got there late in the afternoon.
These two mega-retailers were raking in the swag all day so fast they couldn’t take time to stock the shelves!
Or are they just being cheap? Maybe they could hire a couple of more people to do that chore and get some folks back to work. That way they can come back and buy  more goods.
Wal-Mart,  specially, could hire a few more cashiers. Perhaps they plan it that way so you will shop more and buy more of the impulse items that have waiting for you near each cash register. In my case, the impulse items won out and bought some batteries I have been putting off purchasing for no apparent reason.
I felt sorry for the checkers who must go home and dream about an endless stream of goods and groceries going around their head. Just one checker more could cut the wait time by five minutes. So, what say? Go out and hire a couple more people. You rich guys got a break from the Federal government, now its your turn to spend some of it as those wags in Congress said you would!
FROM TV LAND: There is no such thing as an addiction to oil. TV announcers always like to use that word to spice up their stories about energy conservation and the like.
But, the truth is it is just poetic license talking. And that has been copies from the first user of that term about 30 years ago.
The USA use more oil because it is cheap and available. There is a gas station within a couple of minutes of just about everyone’s home. Anybody out there find any ethanol stations anywhere near the Imperial Valley? Perhaps you could set the record straight as to where to get it. Or how about methane powered cars? Same thing. Where’s the fuel? Or Compressed Natural Gas. There are a few vehicles running on this, but no mass marketed place to get it. The only pumps are slow affairs that can take all night to fill one tank with fuel. And last, but not least, electricity is being touted as the fuel of the future. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has even set up a recharging station in El Centro.
The cars now on the market, though, are supposed to charge off your household electrical supply, so everybody has access to this.
That’s intriguing news. And we hope the sales of the new electric buggies continue so the technology improves and the machines get longer and stronger in terms of distance travelled between chargings and horsepower produced. We Americans love our muscle cars, you know. I suppose they can put a little Zoom, Zoom in the engine. Or perhaps a couple of lightning bolts spitting out of the exhaust, to make them interesting.
Even without that, if those people who want to push alternative fuels are serious about doing something, then let them get the financing to set up energy stations all over the country. Funding through private enterprise would be preferred since it would stir more employment and speed up the process of getting a mass marketed alternative into place throughout the country.
It can be done.


Luke Phillips
  A group of developers who were in negotiations to buy Barbara Worth Resort have instead filed suit against the bank that owns the property after the deal fell through.
Imperial Palms Resort LLC, a company comprised of investors Kevin Smith and Daryl Readshaw, filed the lawsuit with the California Superior Court in El Centro on July 20 of this year.
According to the lawsuit, Imperial Palms LLC is claiming that NWK2, Inc., a subsidiary of Rabobank, imposed undue demands and deadlines for the closure of escrow eventually leading to the fall-through of negotiations. The plaintiffs are also claiming that NWK2 Inc. failed to deliver the property clear of all liens.
“Defendant NWK2, Inc. failed to perform the obligations on its part to be performed for a period in excess of 1 year during the course of which Defendant was in breach of its obligations under the Exhibit A Purchase Agreement, all to the detriment of the Plaintiff,” the lawsuit reads.
The plaintiffs claim that they were not given reasonable time to close escrow after the lien issue, among others, was cleared up. After refusing to pay a $150,000 extension fee the escrow was terminated and the plaintiffs are seeking no less than $1,200,000 in damages from the bank.
Local businessman Atul Kumar was originally a part of the investment group, but backed out early in the year because of the company’s financial situation.
“They just didn’t have the money,” Kumar said. “They didn’t have an adequate amount of financial strength and I knew it wasn’t going to happen.”
Kumar says that Smith and Readshaw needed a 50 percent down payment to secure $1.4 million in funding to buy the resort, but were not able to find financial backing.
“When you don’t have any credibility, how are you going to get that?” Kumar said. “Now the resort loses, the employees lose and the community has been hurt because of these two guys.”
Kumar says he gave Smith and Readshaw 120 days to close escrow before he pulled out of the project, losing the money that he had invested so far.    “I just picked the wrong group of people,” he said. “That’s why we’re in limbo right now. It’s been 14 months and they haven’t cleared escrow. That’s the key thing.”
A Case Management Conference has been scheduled in the lawsuit and is set to take place January 17, 2012 at the Imperial County courthouse in El Centro.

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