From the daily archives: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

by Jorge Villalobos

If life teaches us anything, it’s that life is often open for adjustments. For anyone that ever tried, is and has ever tried to lose weight, this couldn’t be truer. This column debuted in August, but it’s been in preparation since the beginning of July. For over two and a half months I’ve been working to get myself back on track, to reverse my diabetes and to lose weight. This could be daunting and discouraging but remember, even trying to change your lifestyle for the better and having a positive goal is already leaving you better off than you were before you started.
On this edition I want to discuss adjustments. Because if you really think about it, changing a lifestyle or anything is just a series of adjustments you make that can have a positive (or negative) impact on your life. Before you adjust anything you have to learn about yourself, you might even be surprised with how much you actually don’t know about yourself. When I first started this diet, I had no idea what sodium (particularly the heavy amounts I was consuming through processed goods) was doing to my body. I had stopped eating junk food and drinking regular soft drinks but I was still consuming a lot of sodium through diet soda and processed foods.
Canned foods such as Campbell’s Classic Chicken Noodle Soup, that seemed healthy enough on the outside, was just processed and sodium filled food on the inside. I understand why certain foods have to have high amounts of things that we don’t need in them, to preserve them. So for the past two weeks I’ve gone totally natural. I buy fresh vegetables and I prepare all my meals myself so that I know exactly what I’m putting into my body and It has really been working out. This is a very important skill that I feel that is often neglected or seen as unimportant.
First off, I’m finding cooking to be very enjoyable. I enjoy dicing up fresh veggies and protein based meats such as chicken breast and fish. Cooking let’s me not only see something come together with sight and smells but also gives me the satisfaction that if this meal comes out delicious, I can share it with friends.
Of course who doesn’t love someone that can cook? Now that I’ve adjusted my diet to better suit the needs of my body by going natural, I can not only see but feel the difference in how I sleep and perform each day with my daily activities. Clothes are starting to loosen up around my belly area and compliments are starting to pour in.
Don’t get me wrong, I was on the frustrated boat for almost two months wondering why I wasn’t seeing the changes that I wanted. But after I adjusted my diet again and again by tweaking little things here and there, my body reacted in a positive way.
Another thing that had to be adjusted was the consumption of diet colas. I replaced my regular soda habits with a diet alternative and it didn’t much help. When I asked my doctor, Dr. Creek about diet soda he told me that there are studies out there that suggest that diet soda actually enhances your cravings and turns your body to work against you thinking that something that is sweet is actually sugar. After that talk, I completely dropped all types of sodas from my diet; in fact I dropped most drinks too. I reverted to sticking to what Mother Nature intended, water.
So you might be wondering, where are you at now? How much have you lost? I’m not quite ready to announce those numbers yet, but I can confirm that I’m satisfied with the progress I’ve made so far. I have a goal and I plan on reaching this goal by October, with my current eating habits, I’m confident. In the mean time, why not trying some adjustments of your own? Maybe even give cooking a shot, don’t try anything complicated, you can start with something simple like a chicken and veggie stir fry! Let me know how it works out.
For any questions, suggestions, recipes or if you’d like to tell me your story contact me at I will be looking for people who took control of their lives and made extraordinary changes to help build this into a meaningful and inspiring bi-monthly column.


Evelyn Thornburg, joined by family members, holds a plaque recognizing the contributions of her late husband Bill Thornburg to Imperial Valley College. IVC Interim President Victor Jaime and Trustee Norma Galindo recently made the presentation to Mrs. Thornburg and her family on behalf of the IVC Board. Bill Thornburg is the only person in the history of the college to graduate from IVC, serve as a trustee, business instructor and Vice President.



The Imperial Valley College Board of Trustees has started a process that will result in major changes to the way trustees are elected as well as boundaries of areas they represent.


            The board voted Wednesday to modify trustee area boundaries and change from “at large” to “trustee area” elections.


            Currently, the seven trustees must live within the boundaries of a specific area, which correspond to boundaries for the county’s high school or unified school districts: Brawley Union, Central Union, Calexico Unified, Holtville Unified, San Pasqual Unified, Imperial Unified and Calipatria Unified. All residents of the Imperial Community College District vote for all trustee candidates on the ballot.


            That will change, beginning in November 2012, when residents will only vote for candidates who reside in their trustee area.


            The issue has come to the forefront with recent lawsuits against “at-large” voting practices filed against cities and education agencies around the state.


            The new trustee areas will be determined utilizing 2010 census data, and based on population. It will be the first time since the community college district was founded in 1959 that board representation areas will be redrawn.


             These changes are being driven by the California Voting Rights Act, legation approved in 2002 which discourages “at large” elections by making them subject to expensive litigation due to discrimination. The 2010 census is the first since the voting rights act was passed and community college districts and other agencies up and down the state are reviewing or changing their elections procedures.


            “This proactive move by our Board will ensure that our community is represented in the best possible manner,” said Victor Jaime, IVC interim president. “By initiating this process, the Board will have access to relevant information as we consider election options. We want to ensure our system is proportionate, fair, and consistent with ‘one person one vote’ representation.”


            The redistricting effort will take about three months and the board will be appointing a citizens committee to provide input on the new district boundaries. “We also will be working to have maximum public input during this process to identify areas of community interest that must be maintained,” said Jaime.


            Current trustee boundaries were established in the formative years of the IVC district. In 1959, Imperial County voters- by a ratio of 12 to 1– approved a ballot measure to establish the two-year college district in the Valley. Trustee boundaries were drawn At that time to represent the area’s high school or unified school districts.


                 “With the passage of the California Voting Rights Act, this method of representation has become obsolete,” Jaime said. “Additionally, there is a large disparity between populations in our seven districts which potentially could be counter to “One Person One Vote provisions” of  the Federal Voting Rights Act,” he added.



By Luke Phillips


At a meeting Monday the Holtville City Council told waterworks supervisor Frank Cornejo that they are interested in moving forward with the purchase of a UV light system to disinfect the city’s water supply.

The city was cited by the state last month after higher-than-normal levels of trihalmethanes were found in the water supply. The city is required to submit an Action Plan for how they are going to remedy the situation by September 21 and Cornejo says he’d like to include the UV system as a solution in the report.

“It would be a direct benefit to the city by helping us to reach our trihalomethane limits,” Cornejo said.

The state requires the city’s Action Plan to include a proposed timeline for the installation of the new system which Cornejo also provided.

The first step would be to obtain funding for the project. With FEMA footing the bill for the reconstruction of the city’s quake-damaged 1.5 million-gallon water tank, city staff is working to see if the UV system might be included with that project and be covered by federal funds as well. The city is also looking into other grant funding as a back-up plan, but expect to have some kind of funding in place by next April.

“This schedule was written on a worst case scenario,” Cornejo explained. “We wrote it as if FEMA won’t fund it. We gave a lot of time to find grant funding if necessary.”

Steps 2 and 3 would comprise the design and bidding phases of the project and would be completed by January, 2013. The fourth step, the actual installation of the UV system, would begin in January and last until July 10, 2013.

Council member Colleen Ludwig questioned the need for the UV system when the city’s water tank project is scheduled to be completed in late 2012, well before the UV system could be put into place. Cornejo reminded her that EPA requirements may soon become more stringent, requiring further decontamination than the city could provide without the UV system.

“That is on the horizon, so we’re thinking in the long term,” Cornejo said.

Holtville city manager Alex Meyerhoff praised Cornejo for being proactive about the situation.

City engineer Jack Holt told the council that the purchase, shipping, taxes and metering equipment for the UV system would likely cost about $240,000 not including installation costs.

The council voted unanimously to direct the city manager to look into the system and to allow a change in the scope of project for the city’s water tank project to include the UV system.

“If there’s anything that we can do to ensure the safety of our water supply, at any cost, I think we should do it,” Ludwig said.

Council member Jerry Brittsan also said that he would support anything that would allow the city to lower the levels of chlorine in the water supply, however Cornejo says it can never be completely eliminated.

“We are required to meet the state’s minimum requirements, even with the UV system,” he said.


In the ongoing effort to help Imperial County students achieve their goal of attending university after high school, the Imperial County Office of Education and College Going Initiative will hold its annual Higher Education Week I Sept. 19 through Sept. 22.

Higher Education Week I focuses attention on high school seniors, providing them access to some 25 college and university recruiters along with critical information on such issues as financial aid. Recruiters and higher education programs partners from throughout Imperial County will attend each of the high schools during the week to meet with seniors as part of college fairs.

A key component of the Higher Education Week I is the parent night at the Imperial Valley Mall, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the food court. ICOE encourages parents and families to attend the mall event. Recruiters and counselors will be available at the mall to address questions.

“Parents have different needs and questions than students,” said Denise Cabanillas, ICOE’s coordinator for higher education. “It’s important for them to come out and ask their questions.”

She added along with parents and seniors, all members of families—including younger students—would benefit from the exposure to information on what is involved in pursuing a higher education. The earlier students are thinking about a higher education, the earlier they and their parents can understand the requirements to achieve that goal and work toward it.

For students, that means taking the A-G coursework necessary to qualify for university enrollment.

“We are working diligently to ensure that all students are college and career ready upon high school graduation,” said ICOE Superintendent Anne Mallory. “It is important that all students receive access to the most rigorous and relevant courses available in order to obtain the viable skills necessary to have options.  We are working with students and their families to raise awareness about the necessary courses that students must take while in high school that will allow them to be well-prepared for college or a vocation.”

ICOE and the College Going Initiative are continuing to focus efforts toward outreach to ensure students and their families understand the coursework that is necessary and the support that is available to help students pursue a higher education.

While there have been improvements in the number of Imperial Valley students seeking a higher education, ICOE officials say more work needs to be done. One sobering statistic shows that 11 percent of Imperial County residents have a baccalaureate degree compared to a 30 percent national average.

Events like Higher Education Week I and Higher Education Week II, held later in the year for high school juniors, along with other events throughout the year that target students of all ages, are geared toward building more awareness both among students and parents.

The College Going Initiative also has developed a website that provides critical answers to address higher education questions students and families may have. Visit the website at

For questions about the parent event or about Higher Education Week, contact the ICOE at 760.312.6440

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