From the monthly archives: October 2012

By Jim Predmore

Aviation Day was first instituted in Imperial County on October 24, 2009.

Since its inception, Aviation Day has continued to grow with approximately 3,000 people in attendance at last year’s event! The purpose of Aviation Day is to provide the citizens of Imperial County with a growing understanding of the contribution the airport provides to the local economy as well as the quality of life it enables here in Imperial Valley.

It is an “open house” for the community! That allows residents to visit their commercial airport, see the military and civilian aircraft that use our airport,t and uncover the mystery behind the chain link fence.

One of our most exciting portions of Aviation Day is the EAA Young Eagles flights for children between the ages of 8 thru 17. In the past three years over 400 local kids have flown in general aviation aircraft!

These hands-on flights help kindle the dreams and hopes of many of our kids! This extraordinary experience encourages our youth to further their education as well as seek an aviation career in diverse occupations such as engineers, aircraft mechanics and other facets of aviation.

While the children have the most fun flying around the valley, there were over 50 General Aviation and Military aircraft for the adults to explore. Aircraft owners and pilots are more than happy show their aircraft and answer any questions from the visitors. And when asked, they can also provide information on learning to fly.

In the parking lot area vendors were available with food, souvenirs and curios. Additionally, there were educational exhibits pertaining to aviation and the valley. Many of the exhibits highlight aviation career opportunities in industry, military and emergency services.

The Featured Aircraft: Marine Air Group 16, MAG-16, V-22 Osprey

The V-22 Osprey has been in service with the US Marines since 2000. Its tilt rotor design enables it to vertically land and take off similar to a helicopter, but then rotate its rotors into a forward configuration to enable forward flight like a cargo plane.

It can achieve speeds up to 315 MPH at sea level. The Osprey is capable of carrying 32 Soldiers or 20,000 pounds of cargo in various combat configurations that also include armament attachments.

You will frequently see Osprey practicing combat support maneuvers in the Holtville area and also coming in to Imperial County Airport for refueling during the day and at night. The evening appearances at Imperial County Airport are especially interesting as they often use their Rotor marker lights and remind you of aircraft in science fiction movies.



Exciting news to share! The Imperial Solar Energy Center South (C-Solar South) project has hit a major hiring milestone. Thanks to a local hire agreement between IBEW Local 569 and the project developer, 73% of the electrical workforce dispatched to the project is from Imperial County with 93% of the local hires being new electrical apprentices and trainees. With 28.5 percent unemployment, the highest in the state, this is a big boost to the local economy at a time when Imperial County needs it most. Below are just a few of the personal stories from some of our new members on the job.

Rodolfo Valdez, a new IBEW 569 Apprentice from Calexico who is working on the project comments, “I’m most excited about the apprenticeship because it’s a new career. I appreciate the opportunity the IBEW gave me to be a member and to be productive in the community.”

El Centro resident Rogelio Ruiz, the father of three young children, was unemployed for over a year prior to joining IBEW Local 569’s apprenticeship program and going to work at C-Solar South. He notes, “I have been very impressed with my training and am happy to be able to work and feed my family. I like that the project is so close to home so I can enjoy quality time with my family after work.”

A graduate of El Centro high school, new IBEW 569 Apprentice Pedro Bernal was born and raised in Imperial County. “Before I joined the apprenticeship, I was working at a retail home improvement store. Now, I am making good money at C-Solar South and have a sense of accomplishment about my work. I have a little girl and another on the way and am happy to know I am building a clean energy project so the earth will still be a good place for my kids and their kids.”

Thanks to the pipeline of clean energy projects in Imperial County with IBEW local hire agreements, we are putting local electricians to work, creating good, middle-class green careers and training the next generation of skilled, state-certified electricians in the community.


By Chris Furguson


• The Brawley City Council, at their meeting on Tuesday, October 16, welcomed newly hired firefighter Julio Rivera to the city’s ranks.

Brawley Interim Fire Chief Chuck Peraza introduced Rivera to the council, in front of Rivera’s parents and other family members.  Also on hand were members of the Brawley Public Safety Committee to congratulate the new firefighter.

Rivera, who was working with the department as a “call-paid” firefighter, recently passed his testing and was hired to fill a hole in staffing.

Rivera thanked his family and Chief Peraza “for the opportunity to work for the city.”


• The Brawley council extended a state of emergency declaration for an additional 30 days.  The item, which was on the regular agenda portion of meeting, was approved unanimously by the three presiding members of the council with no discussion.

After the Earthquake swarm a few in late August, the council declared a state of emergency and must review the declaration and renew if the need for such a declaration is warranted.

Mayor George Nava and council members Miguel Miranda and Don Campbell approved the extension.  Council members Ryan Kelley and Sam Couchman were not present.


• The Brawley City Council heard an update on the city’s credit card payment program at their meeting on Tuesday.

Finance Director Ruby Walla said that the program was becoming popular with residents but was extremely useful for commercial accounts with large bills to pay.  This has also led to unexpected costs that the city is incurring, especially when large accounts are paying their bills with a single card.

Walla also mentioned the possibility of future payments through the city’s website.  Walla said she had been contacted by a company that specializes in helping counties with bill payments.

The council gave Walla direction to continue pursuing these possibilities.

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