From the monthly archives: September 2012
By Chris Furguson 


On September 14, 2012, Brawley Superior Furniture, the oldest continually running business in the City, burned down before sunrise. Crews from all over Imperial County, including Westmorland, El Centro, Calipatria and Imperial County, helped Brawley's firefighters battle the blaze. The 60+ year business is owned by Mary Miller, who said she wasn't sure if she would reopen the business due to needing to gut the entire facility to start over. Power was shut off by the city to businesses in the Plaza area to prevent the possibility of further fires starting. The cause of the fire was unknown as crews were continuing to douse the flames as of 7 am this morning. More information is expected from the city in time for our next print edition of the Weekly-Chronicle. 

By Jim Predmore
     It has been 11 years since that dreadful day when America was attacked by extreme terrorist, leaving a lasting and far reaching scar on our country. At least 2,985 people died in the September 11, 2001 attacks, including:  19 terrorists and 2,966 victims,
13 later died of their wounds. One person has died since the attacks, of lung cancer which is suspected to have been caused by all the debris from the Twin Towers.
There were 266 people on the four planes:  American Airlines Flight 11 (crashed into the WTC) had 92 on board (including five terrorists), United Airlines Flight 175 (crashed into the WTC) had 65 on board (including five terrorists), American Airlines Flight 77 (crashed into the Pentagon) had 64 souls on board (including five terrorists), and United Flight 93 (downed in Shanksville, PA) lost 45 (including four terrorists)
There were 2,595 people in and around the World Trade Center, including343 NYFD firefighters and paramedics, 23 NYPD police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, 1,402 people in Tower 1, 614 people in Tower 2, 658 people at the company Cantor Fitzgerald, 1,762 New York residents, 674 New Jersey residents, and1 NYFD firefighter killed by a man jumping off the top floors of the Twin Towers
125 civilians and military personnel lost their life at the Pentagon. 1,609 people lost a spouse or partner on 9/11. More than 3,051 children lost parents. While it was mostly Americans who were killed in this horrific attack, there were also 327 foreign nationals.
The events of that day affected so many around the world and continue to affect people to this day.
Imperial Valley College held an event to remember 911 at their College Center where they showed documentaries on the events of 911.
I spoke to Sarah Lopez of El Centro, a student at IVC, whose dad was in New York on that day and was scheduled to tour the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. She remembers talking to her Dad the night before and how excited he was to able to go on that tour. Johnny Lopez had taken a vacation to spend time with his mother and to see the sights of New York.  He was scheduled to be in the buildings when the planes hit the towers.
Sarah remembers the morning of 911 and how the telephone kept on ringing; friends and family wanting to know if her Dad was alright.  All attempts to reach her dad failed. Sarah remembers watching the news and she remembers the sights to this day. Johnny Lopez missed the tour bus that morning because his mother was ill.  It took him two days to be able to reach any of his family. Sarah Lopez feels so blessed to still have her dad. Sarah was only 6 years old when the Towers fell and states, “Every year I understand a little more about what happened on that day and by watching these documentaries, it helps. I feel so sorry for all of the families that lost loved ones”.
How many stories are there like this one? We think of the ones that have lost their lives and how devastating that must be.  How many others had close calls or had some kind of miraculous intervention?  How many are still affected by health problems? Just this week there are reports of new cancers being discovered as the result of the collapse of the Towers and the clean up.
The events of 911 showed the world how evil exists. So many lives lost and so many effected. As the children that were able to remember those events are now entering college it becomes a history lesson. September 11, 2011 is a history lesson that everyone will remember.


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors approved Ormat’s East Brawley Geothermal project at Tuesday’s public hearing meeting.

The proposed East Brawley Geothermal Project would construct a new 49.9 net megawatt binary power plant composed of six Ormat Energy Converters, an expanded geothermal well field beyond the six exploration wells, and pipelines to carry the geothermal brine to the power plant for 30 years.

Also to be constructed are pipelines to carry the cooled brine to injection wells, pipelines to distribute, noncondensible gas from production wells to the power plant area and injection wells, and electrical transmission line to interconnect to the substation at the North Brawley 1 Geothermal Power Plant, and water pipelines to bring water from the City of Brawley’s treatment plant upgrade, with supplemental water supplied by Imperial Irrigation District to the power plant for cooling water. The EBGDP would have a total water demand of approximately 5,500 acre-feet per year, which would be obtained for the IID and the City of Brawley’s wastewater treatment plant.

The Geothermal plant site is owned by Ormat Nevada Inc. and consist of one parcel of 33.7 acres.  The project proposes to construct a substation adjacent to the geothermal power plant that would convert power generated at the plant to the proposed line voltage of 92 kilovots. The converted electricity would be transferred via a 2-mile-long double-circuit.

At the June 13, 2012 hearing, the County Planning Commission approved, with a 8-0 vote, the conditions for approval.  Thereafter, the County received one timely appeal to the Planning Commission action from the California Unions for Reliable Energy who appealed of all approvals on the basis of land use jurisdiction and CEQA compliance. The California Unions for Reliable Energy presented evidence and arguments that said that the project was going to need more water supply than it was presented at the environmental impact report.

After all the evidence was presented, the County Board of Supervisors decided to upheld the decision of the planning commission and voted in favor to approve the project 5-0.




By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors will support the Imperial County Desert Museum in getting the funding and support they need to keep cultural artifacts.

The item was requested by Supervisor Jack Terrazas who introduced Neal Hitch, Executive Director of the Imperial Desert Museum. The main work of the museum over the last two years, Hitch said, has been the recuration of the Imperial Valley College Archaeology Collection, which is being completed under the Memorandum of Agreement with Imperial Valley College.

During this time, the museum has implemented a conservation lab, has brought on curation staff and developed a thriving volunteer curation program. Currently, there is no federally approved curation facility that would fill that need, and the museum has worked with BLM El Centro in the hope that artifacts from the Imperial Valley will stay in the Valley and will benefit locals.

Hitch explained that in the beginning of 2011, the mechanism for funding the museum was assumed to be from the mitigation funds of clean energy projects. A few energy projects have committed to long-term funding and strategic planning in the spring of 2011 determined that the museum would require an additional $2.5 million dollar endowment to sustain long-term operations. The mitigation for the Tenaska Solar project included $200,000, which would have been used to begin this operating endowment and it was planned that additional mitigations funds would follow.

“These projects have now moved to private land and the museum was not fully funded through energy mitigation.” Hitch said.

He also mentioned that the museum has not received approval from the state office of BLM to curate BLM artifacts. After reviewing the museum, BLM determined that the museum does not meet the minimal federal standards as they have no permanent staff, no guaranteed source of revenue and no record of performance. This means that currently, all cultural artifacts collected during the construction of renewable energy projects are being removed from the county, along with curation funding and curation jobs associated with the ongoing project in the Imperial County.

The Board agreed that this was an important issue to support and directed County Council Michael Roode to draft a resolution for next meeting their support to the museum and will work with the BLM and have them support the museum.


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