From the daily archives: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jim Predmore

Santa came a few day earley to hand out some presents to some very special children and keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive in honor of Laurie Vandergriff who loved Christmas.

Monday was a special day for many children who are receiving services through the Department of Social Services as they were invited to attend the 4th Annual Laurie Vandergriff Memorial Toy Drive in Imperial, California.
This toy drive is a memorial to a much-loved social worker who adored children and loved the Christmas holiday.  As a social worker, she went out of her way to make Christmas a special time for children in need.  After she passed away of cancer, co-workers at the Department of Social Services wanted to carry on her legacy and love of children by hosting this special event each year.  This year’s event was the biggest to date, and was attended by Laurie’s children, Michael and Allison.
Children and their families were treated to pizza provided by Dominos and ice cream courtesy of ColdStone, along with beautifully decorated cupcakes and cookies.  They were delighted to take a seat on Santa’s lap as they each had their photo taken and received a wonderful gift.  In addition to the beautifully wrapped presents, many children also went away with brand new bikes and helmets. All of the gifts and bikes were provided by generous sponsors who believe in making Christmas special for children.


11 Companies On the Edge in 2012 – Yahoo! Finance.


Movie review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ –


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors voted to endorse this past Tuesday the application by the Manzanita Tribe’s request to the bureau of Indian affairs for acquisition of land in the City of Calexico for placement in trust for the Casino.

In a 4-1 vote, the board voted to approved this application by the Manzanita Tribe to purchase land and put land into trust for the construction of the Casino. CEO Ralph Cordova said that they have received a letter from the Attorney General  asking for the position of the County of Imperial on the project by the Manzanita Tribe. Cordova gave a history of the Casino project in Calexico and asked the board to move forward with this application.

Supervisor Gary Wyatt had concerns about moving forward with this application since members of the tribe were not present at the meeting. He said that the County had problems with other tribes were they haven’t payed tax revenues with the County even when they had and agreement with them. Wyatt asked to postpone this item until the issues with the tribe are solved.

Cordova said that part of the direction requested is for the County to sit down with the Manzanita Tribe and the City of Calexico sit down to formulate and MOU. Supervisor Mike Kelley said that the MOU should state how the tribe will mitigate the impacts made to the County related to public work, air quality, and public safety.

Supervisor John Renison said that this project will be a plus for Calexico since it will initiate an economic development for Calexico. Renison reminded the board that residents voted in favor of this project. He mentioned that the Grand Plaza project will be a good complement for the Casino.

Police Chief James Neujahr said that the project has been in the works for many years and has not died away. He said that they have been working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make the project a reality.

Councilman Bill Hodge asked the board to approve this application since Calexico needs jobs and more economic development.

Calexico resident Loli Torres also spoke in favor of the application for the Casino. She mentioned that Calexico needs to have these types of projects that will employee people and will support the entire Imperial County. The board voted 4-1 with Gary Wyatt voting against it. The condition of this motion was to have the County meet with the tribe to create and an agreement. Supervisor Terrazas appointed Supervisors Renison and Castillo to and ad hoc committee to work on it.

The Manzanita Band of the Kumyaay submitted a request for the United States to acquire land located in the Calexico in trust pursuant to the Indian Reorganization and BIA’s implementing regulations. The Band intends to use the Calexico parcel for gaming purposes in furtherance of tribal economic and governmental self-sufficiency.

The Manzanita Band has been working with the City of Calexico to establish a cooperative, government-to-government relationship so that the proposed development will benefit the entire community. The proposal is supported by the residents of Calexico, as demonstrated by a favorable City-wide referendum in June 2005. On April 1, 2006, the tribe executed a memorandum of understanding with the City that ensures a mutually beneficial arrangement.

The tribe proposes to develop the site for recreational/tourism by constructing a casino, hotel, and parking structure. The 91,000 square foot proposed casino will include 130,000 square feet of food/beverage and retail space, a 50,000 square foot banquet/meeting hall, a 10,000 square foot entertainment venue, and a 200-room hotel. The Casino will have 2,000 slot machines and 45 gaming venue. There will be three guest restaurants and one employee dining room. A swimming pool and a parking structure with 3,000 spaces will also be developed along with Government offices to oversee gaming operation. Currently, the parcel is undeveloped.

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