From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The DOVES organization’s yearly fundraiser, Monte Carlo Night is now accepting sponsorships for their upcoming casino gala event “Emerald Isle” which will be held March 17 at the Stockmen’s Club of the Imperial Valley.  Various levels of sponsorship opportunities are available: Queen Sponsor- $250; King Sponsor- $500; and/or ACE Sponsor $750 or higher. Money raised will support at least fifteen carefully selected local charities. For ticket information please call Mary Emanuelli, 760-455-7215; or for prize donations please contact Liz Mamer,  760-427-1766. DOVES facebook page also has more details.
We were hoping you may be interested to hear about our latest:  Please let me know how we can work together to possibly put something together for your newspaper.  What is special about our organization?  Every year  we award thousands of dollars to many worthy causes….. all raised by a dedicated group of volunleer women priding themselves on knowing that every cent of profit goes to charity and remains in the Imperial County.  Special point #2?  Our 26th year of doing so!
Our non-profit organization D.O.V.E.S. (Donors of Valley Endeavors) is once again planning their Monte Carlo Night Gala’s “Emerald Isle” fundraiser to support charities benefiting women and children of the Imperial Valley.  Over $700,000.00 dollars has been generously allotted to deserving recipients since inception. The evening is scheduled for March 17, St. Patrick’s Day  and will be held at the Stockmen’s Club of the Imperial Valley.
Celebrating our 26th year, our event will promise to bring a very special evening to supporters and sponsors alike.
Various levels of sponsorships are now being sought as well as ticket sales to the fun evening full of gaming, gourmet food, fun and prizes.
Topping off the list of over 100 prizes will include trips, a big screen t.v., sporting events, NFR tickets, veterinary services, private dinners parties, tires as well as a multitude of other fabulous gifts donated by the community.


By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors approved the list of road projects to be funding by the LTA-Bond-Capital Improvement Program for Road Reconstruction.
The County of Imperial Department of Public Works prepared the list of projects as part of the Capital Improvement to utilize the LTA Bond funding for road rehabilitation. The proposed projects for the selected roads were determined based on the results of the Pavement Management System survey conducted by Infrastructure Management Service of the County’s road network based on connectivity, traffic, counts, and pavements conditions. The subject projects will rehabilitate 74 miles of county paved roads.
The estimated cost for the construction of the projects is $20,051,886. Once approved, the Imperial County Department of Public Works shall forward the list of Local Transportation Authority for updating the County’s current five year plan.
Public Works Director Bill Burnett gave a presentation to the Board regarding the different projects and road status of County Roads. Burnett said the list was prepared for a $20 million dollar budget to be spent on the rehabilitation and maintenance work for 389,858 ft of road. $1.5 million dollars will be used for the Salton Sea Roads.
Supervisor John Renison asked if every City joined the LTA Bond requested the Imperial County Transportation Commission. Burnett said the cities of Holtville and El Centro were the only two that did not join since El Centro was going to bond their money themselves.
Wyatt said that people want to know when are their road going to be fixed and this will now give them a timeline as to when it will be done.  Supervisor Jack Terrazas inquired by will it take the County three years to complete all the works. Burnett said they only have the list but and the need to complete the designs first and go to bid.  CEO Ralph Cordova said that the County needs to determine how much are they going to bond but the goal is to execute the plan by the end of the third year.
Chairman Mike Kelley said that the goal is to use Measure D funds that people approved in 2008 to improve roads.


By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute agreements regarding the De Anza II Senior Apartments, an addition to the current De Anza Hotel Senior Center at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5th.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development is authorized to allocate HOME funds available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project.  HOME funds are to be used for the purposes set forth in the California Code of Regulations. This includes provisions of housing for low and very low income households.
In January 2011, HCD notified the City of funding availability totaling $5,000,000 for the project. On February 15, 2011 the City Council authorized the City Manager to submit an application to HCD for HOME funds for the project. The funding requires the City to loan the money to the developer to construct the project.
The funds must be repaid to the City over a 55 year time span. The Project will consist of a total of 54 rental units for seniors, 41 of which will be exclusively for low and very low income households. Based upon the results of the De Anza I project, approved in 1996, the Project should successfully provide much needed affordable housing in the City.
The funds totaling $5, 000,000 for the Project were provided exclusively through federal and state via the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. No City funds are to be used for this project. The De Anza II apartments will start construction in the next couple of weeks and will be finished by the Fall of this year for occupancy. The developers of this project will donate an additional $50,000 dollars for Senior Citizen services.
The Calexico Planning Commission approved the De Anza II project last December that will be adjacent to the Historic De Anza Hotel, which has been a landmark in Calexico since the early 1930’s. The architecture theme of the new proposed building has been designed to incorporating similar massing, character and details as the original De Anza Hotel which is considered Meditarrean with heavy stucco exterior, arched front arcades, and Spanish tile roofing.
The project consists of the construction of a three story building with 54 senior efficiency units, and adequate parking for both senior living in the existing converted De Anza Hotel and residents of the new addition. The typical unit consists of approximately 333 sq. ft.. and includes a kitchenette off the entry, a spacious sleeping/living area and a fully ADA accessible bathroom. A lounge with kitchen located just of the lobby and management/leasing office will be provided on the ground floor.  Additionally, an elevator will serve all three levels of the building.


Chris Furguson
At the February 7 meeting of the Brawley City Council, a presentation on the Imperial Valley FOG Pilot Project was made by Dilda McFadden.
The project, which will be built in one of the county’s two enterprise zones, will convert used restaurant and home cooking oil and grease into bio-diesel fuel.  Bio-diesel fuel has lauded as a way of lowering individual dependence on foreign petroleum, especially in high gasoline consumption vehicles.
The acronym “FOG” stands for Fats, Oils & Grease.  Typically, there are two types of FOG: higher quality “yellow” and lower quality “brown.”  The lower quality FOG has more impurities that must be filtered before being converted to bio-diesel.
The presentation claimed that cooking oil that is poured down residential drains accounts for 70% of the grease found in municipal sewers.
Many chefs without an easy solution to their grease problem will also pour their grease down the drain, creating clogs and blockages all over a city’s sewer system.
The pilot project would create curbside pickup options for families and residents.  McFadden said that most of the restaurants in the Imperial Vally already use a pick up service.
The collected oil would then be converted through a process called “transesterification.”  The transesterfication process combines used or new oil with ethanol and lye to create a solution that is 90% bio-diesel and 10% glycerin.
Current plans, according to McFadden, are to build a 200,000 square foot facility in one of the county’s two enterprise zones to the tune of over $60,000,000.  The facility would take care of FOG collection, processing and selling through internet and other sales. McFadden’s presentation claims that the facility will create 400 jobs in various parts of the initial phases, including administration and plant operators.
Financing plans for the plant were not expressed in detail, but federal and state grant opportunities were mentioned along with a private/public partnership.
McFadden was seeking a letter of recommendation from the city.  As the item was not an action item, any letter would have to wait until the next meeting.


Chris Furguson

Members of the Brawley City Council and city staff take part in a tour of the former Regan Community Center arranged by the property’s new owners. The facility is set to reopen as a 40-room hotel by this fall with the other half completed soon afterwards. Chris Furguson Photo.

The Regan Community Center, located in the western portion of Brawley, is currently undergoing renovation efforts to turn the former Senior Living Center into it’s former status as a hotel.
The work, currently being done by Bob Kumar, Panks Kumar and Mike Patel, seeks to have half of the 80-room facility open in the next handful of months with work continuing on the rest of the facility.
A tour of the area and a description of the work being done was given by the owners and the City of Brawley last week.  Members of the Brawley City Staff and the City Council were on hand during the tour.
The group also seeks to have a restaurant open when the hotel is ready to receive customers, but admits that there wouldn’t be much interest until more work done.
The center, which closed a few years ago, was a former senior living facility.  After it closed, vandals spray-painted graffiti, demolished windows and stole furniture and copper wiring.
Additionally, trees and other plant life were left unattended and created many fire hazard problems in the area.
The owners began work shortly after closing escrow on the property in late January.  The land had been under several different owners in the intervening years.
In a best case scenario, the owners hope to have half of the facility open for business by this fall with the rest of the hotel opening soon afterwards.  However, they admitted that they were in the very early stages of the process and a preliminary plan had not been created at this time.

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