From the daily archives: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TEMECULA, Calif. – A multi-agency task force arrested a former police officer Tuesday after about two dozen pornographic images of children were allegedly found on his computer.

Hector Jesus Zamora, 42, was arrested near his Temecula home by members of Riverside County’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force.

Authorities say the images found on the computer include photos depicting Zamora with girls that may have been minors. SAFE Task Force officials say they believe those photos may have been taken about 10 years ago when Zamora lived in Holtville, Calif., where he worked as a police officer.

The FBI served a search warrant at Zamora’s home in January 2010 and seized his computers. Forensic investigators found the pornographic images in the computers, according to a SAFE Task Force news release. The FBI then referred the case to the SAFE Task Force, which continued the investigation.

Zamora posted bail shortly after his arrest and no arraignment date has been set. He has been charged with one count of possessing child sexual exploitation images.

Now SAFE agents are asking the public if Zamora has had any illegal contact with other underage girls. He has lived in Temecula since 2005, when he moved there from San Diego County. Anyone with information is urged to call the SAFE tip line at 866-SAFE-595 or visit


Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry stopped more than half a million dollars worth of cocaine from entering the U.S. over the weekend.

The first seizure occurred at about 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, October 29, when a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers escorted a 24-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a gold 2001 Ford Fusion for further examination.

During the intensive examination, a canine team was utilized to screen the vehicle and the detector dog alerted to the interior. A search of the interior led officers to the discovery of 13 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside a non-factory compartment underneath the vehicle’s rear seat. The weight of the narcotic was 32 pounds with a street value of approximately $288,000.

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

The second seizure occurred three hours later when a detector dog alerted to silver 2001 Honda Civic as the driver and passenger waited in line for inspection. Both vehicle and occupants were escorted for further examination.

An intensive examination led officers to the discovery of 17 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed throughout the Civic. Eight packages were concealed behind the back rest of the rear seat, six packages were concealed inside the rear quarter panels, and three packages were concealed inside a speaker box located in the trunk of the vehicle. The total weight of the cocaine was 43 pounds with a street value of approximately $387,000.

CBP officers arrested the 19-year-old driver and 18-year-old passenger, both male U.S. citizens and residents of Calexico, for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

In both incidents, the violators were transferred over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.


IMPERIAL COUNTY – The Imperial County Public Health Department’s Animal Control office has announced the schedule for the upcoming low cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics for 2011-2012. Imperial County Animal Control has been conducting Rabies Vaccination Clinics in Imperial County for over forty-four years. The clinics are scheduled from November 5, 2011 thru February 26, 2012, at various locations throughout Imperial County.  Last year, over 1,900 county dogs were vaccinated and licensed by at clinics offered by Imperial County Animal Control.

        The rabies vaccine protects dogs and cats from the rabies virus. Although rabies among domestic animals in Imperial County is rare, the area is considered high-risk due to the presence of rabies among wild bats and skunks. Even if a dog or cat has been vaccinated, if they come in contact with a wild skunk or bat, the recommendation is for the animal to be revaccinated as soon as possible. In Imperial County it is mandatory that all dogs over 4 months of age be vaccinated against rabies and licensed each year. The license is good through the date of issue. It is strongly recommended, although not mandatory, that all cats over 4 months of age also be vaccinated against rabies on a yearly basis. The fee for the Rabies Vaccine for dogs and cats is $6.00. County Dog Licenses will also be provided for a fee of $10.00 for male, $5.00 for a neutered male, $10.00 for a female and $5.00 for a spayed female. Clinics will be held in various locations of the county including Desert Shores, Salton City, Niland, Ocotillo, Palo Verde and Winterhaven. No appointment is necessary to attend the clinics.

        According to Daniel Torrez, Animal Control Supervisor for the Imperial County Public Health Department, “the Rabies Vaccination Clinics are held for the public’s convenience. Animal Control takes the clinics to remote areas throughout the county so the public can have access to the vaccine at low cost.”

        The rabies vaccine and county licenses are also available with local veterinarians and county licenses only are available at Imperial County Animal Control located at 1329 South Sperber Road, El Centro from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturdays.

        The following are things people can do to protect their pets from rabies:

  • ·         Individuals should visit their veterinarian with their pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, and dogs.
  • ·         People should maintain control of their pets by keeping cats indoors and dogs under direct supervision.
  • ·         Pets should be spayed or neutered to help reduce the overpopulation of unwanted pets.
  • ·         People should contact Animal Control to report any stray and wild animals from their neighborhood as these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.

        For general information about the Rabies Vaccination Clinics, please contact Imperial County Animal Control at (760) 339-6291, or visit our website at


In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Thanksgiving at Plymouth

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers-an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”-although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time-the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Thanksgiving Becomes an Official Holiday

The Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale-author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”-launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Traditions

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird-whether roasted, baked or deep-fried-on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

Thanksgiving Controversies

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Thanksgiving’s Ancient Origins

While the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays-days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.
As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

Information Courtesy of  The History Channel

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