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Publishers' Message In a community that owes its very existence to innovative earlier settlers, it just seems right to devote the Spring edition of Imperial Valley Alive to the pioneering spirit that’s still alive and thriving in the work of local innovators, researchers and those shaping the future. For the topic, we harken back more than 100 years to those adventurous and daring souls who bucked thenconventional wisdom to implement an ingenious plan to divert the Colorado River and let it flow downhill to irrigate Imperial Valley farmland. They envisioned creating an oasis in the desert, mapped out plans and forged ahead against all odds, natural and political. Today the Imperial Valley lives and thrives thanks to the legacy they left. We did not have to journey far afield to find all flavors of local innovations and research that is continuing to fuel the Valley’s forward progress. Not for a minute, however, do we suggest that the edition is a dry, dull, data-full compendium of all the ground-breaking work being done in the region. Far from
tiger while on a jungle motorcycle odyssey by, believe it or not, going to sleep. Then, turn your attention to the future and check out BorderLink, the visionary plan the Imperial County Office of Education is unveiling to tear down “the digital divide” by teaming with local it. school districts to bring wireless Internet Yet each project and individual connectivity to students in several local featured exudes a sense of enthusiasm, communities that currently lack adequate excitement, and adventure that makes service. Imagine the window to the world for great reading and which may just be and the opportunities that BorderLink will the energy that sparks all innovation and soon open. the research that inspires it. Come along Of course, all that the Valley is today as we explore. and aspires to become flows from the See how that spirit of adventure and Colorado River, the very lifeblood of intrigue comes to life in our cover story. the region. SDSU IV Professor Dr. Eric We take you along on an innovative San Boime has spent his career researching Diego State University Imperial Valley the impact of the river’s history on the course in which students dig into the past American West and our border region. to help those in the future understand An article in this edition will take you the mysteries of prehistoric life in the along as he shares his passion for the region. The students in Dr. Carlos river’s history with his students. Herrera’s course are learning academic For us, this edition turned out to be a research skills by actually researching journey of often unexpected discoveries. archaeologists’ field notes unsealed after We hope you will enjoy the voyage that being locked away for some 40 years. will start the moment you turn the page. And, read about Dr. James Howard, In a community that owes its very the longtime Brawley veterinarian existence to innovative earlier settlers, whose passion for veterinarian medical it just seems right to devote this spring research has resulted in several patents edition of Imperial Valley Alive to the and new treatments to save the lives pioneering spirit that’s still alive and of scores of dogs suffering from heart thriving in the work of local innovators, disease. And talking about daring, Dr. researchers and those shaping the future. Howard’s a guy who survived a roaring
TOP LEFT TO RIGHT: Susan Giller, William A. Gay , Sue Gay, Peggy Dale BOTTOM FRONT: Bill Amidon, Alejandra Noriega - Photo by Joselito N. Villero Spring 2019
Volume 3, Number 3 EDITORS & PUBLISHERS Bill Gay Sue Gay Susan Giller Peggy Dale
CONTRIBUTORS Antoine Abou-Diwan Jayson Barniske Stefanie Campos Mickey Dale Dylan Nichols
The desert was in full bloom this winter and spring. See photos submitted by our readers on Pages 28-29. - Photo by Michel D. Remington
GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Alejandra Noriega Alejandra Pereida
College students sift through the past, Page 6
ADVENTURE | Beloved veterinarian recounts life boldly lived, Page 10
Jesus Uriarte Sergio Uriarte
SALES Bill Amidon Jayson Barniske Sue Gay Mark Gran John Lovecchio
Telling the story of the Water of the West, Page 8
INVENT | Internet coming for all K-12 students, Page 12
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ENFORCE | Referees getting ready for some football, Page 15
Dr. James Howard checks a chart in his office at Howard Animal Hospital in Brawley. - Photo by Joselito N. Villero
INSIDE | Publishers' Message, Page 3 Kidwise, Page 5 Dining Guide, Page 27 Calendar, Pages 32-33
ON THE COVER: Imperial Valley Desert Museum curator Ryan McHale (right) shows Rebecca Santiago, a San Diego State University Imperial Valley history student doing research at the museum, how to review and archive a cassette tape from the museum's Morlin Childers collection. - Photo by Joselito N. Villero
Professor Carlos Herrera (left, standing) and Dr. David Breeckner, CEO of Imperial Valley Desert Museum, instruct San Diego State Imperial Valley history students at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo. Seated at left is curator Ryan McHale. -Photo by Joselito N. Villero
San Diego State University Imperial Valley students sift through the past
By Susan Giller
Frank Aguilera may not look like a character from an “Indiana Jones” movie, but he and his classmates shoved off on an adventure in historic research – one touched by mystery and intrigue – when they enrolled in History 450 this semester at San Diego State University Imperial Valley. The students’ academic odyssey is an integral part of Professor Carlos Herrera’s course, also called Senior Seminar in Historical Research. Rather than a map to a tomb, the students got a key to understanding ancient truths in longlocked crates holding tomes of the original works of titan local archaeologists, Jay Von Werlhof and Morlin Childers, about the antiquities they unearthed in nearby Yuha Desert. As part of their mission, the students are sifting through dusty field notes, 35 mm slides, cassette recordings and other paraphernalia created and kept by Spring 2019
Childers and Von Werlhof while on some of the 10,000 archaeological digs they conducted in the Valley in the 1970s and ‘80s. The Yuha Man skeletal remains discovered by Childers in a Yuha Pinto Wash site in 1976 became one of the most notorious of their finds and garnered widespread news coverage in the day. Initially, the skeletal remains were dated to 50,000 years ago, which set off a firestorm of controversy as it far predated the conventional wisdom about human arrival in America. Later testing revised the age estimate to 3,000 years. Then, the remains disappeared. “The work is really engaging,” Aguilera said. “The impact their discoveries had on the Valley and on archaeology was amazing. Their work generated interest that brought others to come to search here. “Not many in academics get to do this,” he added. “It’s an honor to be part of it.” The course is designed to help students
History student Rebecca Santiago shows a cassette she reviewed from the Morlin Childers collection at Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo. -Photo by Joselito N. Villero properly conduct one of SDSU IV’s core missions – scholarly research. While the course teaches historic theory and how it is applied to original research, it also requires each student to complete a major
SDSU IV history students review and archive photographic slides from the Morlin Childers collection at Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo. Bottom Right: SDSU IV history student Renato Rendon reviews documents for his research on the Desert View Tower near In-KoPah while at the Desert Museum in Ocotillo. -Photos by Joselito N. Villero research paper based on primary sources. “This is as high level and complicated as it gets as an undergraduate,” Dr. Herrera said. “It is kind of training the next generation of historians. It prepares these students for the research they will be required to do in graduate school.” All of the students interviewed have plans to attend graduate school. Dr. Herrera said the course is designed to focus on the region’s archaeological history to give the students new insights about where they live. Through a collaboration with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, the students gain access to the information they need and the museum gets help sorting through the cache of material, known as the Childers Collection. The collection had been locked away untouched for about 40 years before it was returned to the Valley recently after it turned up at the Harry Reid Center in Las Vegas. Every other week, the class moves from campus to the Desert Museum lab in Ocotillo. Part of the time the students help catalog and process the historic cache for archiving. In addition to the experts’ field data and observations, the material contains old newspaper clippings and scrapbooks. Some of the older and more fragile material can only be handled with special gloves. Then each student has time to work on his or her specific research topic. The students’ expedition in intellectual archaeology requires culling through the data and keepsakes of those whose work brought to life the story of how ancient civilization ebbed and flowed through the eons. Through the relics, stone tools and pottery that Von Werlhof and Childers found they meticulously chronicled how the rise and fall of prehistoric Lake Cahuilla influenced the lives of
the Kumeyaay people in and around the Imperial Valley for thousands of years. Excavating through the collection has brought the students face-to-face with mid-century archaeological tools that became relics before they were born. While the students record their findings on multifunctional smartphones, they sift through data measured by compasses, measuring tapes and other manual devices and stored on audio cassette tapes, 35 mm film, pencil, and paper scrawled sketches and notes and other tools the archaeologists routinely used. CONTINUED | PAGE 34
Water of the West By Antoine Abou-Diwan
Eric Boime has a passion for shedding light on the water history of the American West and the border region, and specifically the Colorado River. In addition to his books on the subject, the San Diego State University history professor, shares that passion with Dr. Eric Boime his students -many of whom have never been exposed to local water issues even though they have grown up in the Valley. Reviews on ratemyprofessor.com state SDSU-Imperial Valley students who sign up for one of Boime’s history classes will be expected to do the regular stuff in any college class: participate in class discussions, do a lot of reading, and to work hard. Spring 2019
A passion for the ebb and flow of the region's lifeblood
That is just part of it, though. Boime’s students also have an opportunity to take a tour of the Colorado River to the Hoover Dam. In fact, the tour is the signature part of Boime’s class about the environmental history of the Mexicali and Imperial valleys. It covers how critical the Imperial Valley is to the whole American West, to American history. “What I really like about that trip is the tour guide starts by asking, ‘How many have heard of the Imperial Valley?’” Boime said. The tour guide’s question may sound tongue in cheek, but it hits the mark. Most of Boime’s students are the first in their families to go to college. And though they were born and raised in the Imperial Valley, they don’t know much about their local history. Boime is an environmental historian. His work deals with the politics of the Colorado River, and the conflict and cooperation on the basin between Mexico and the United States. Much of his work aims to untangle the complicated web of business interests, immigration, and xenophobia. Published work includes “National Moat,
Regional Lifeline: The Campaign for the All-American Canal, 1917-1944” and “‘Beating Plowshares into Swords’: The Colorado River Delta, the Yellow Peril, and the Movement for Federal Reclamation, 1901-1928.” Many of the conflicts in the border region led to water policies in both countries, policies which shaped the American West and fueled the growth of the Imperial and Mexicali valleys, and vice versa, according to Boime. Water was initially conveyed to the Imperial Valley in 1901 through the Alamo Canal, which connected the Colorado River with the head of the Alamo River. Most of the Alamo Canal ran through Mexico. Seeing that it posed a security risk, Imperial Valley farmers lobbied Washington, D.C. to build a canal from Imperial Dam to Imperial Valley, whose entire length runs inside the United States. Those efforts were rewarded. President Calvin Coolidge signed the Boulder Canyon Project Act in 1928, which appropriated $165 million for the Hoover Dam as well as the All-American Canal and Imperial Dam.
All-American Canal. - Photo by Jimmy Dorantes “There wouldn’t be Hoover Dam if it wasn’t for Imperial Valley,” Boime said. The rest, as they say, is history. But many of the questions and much of the rhetoric from the Valley’s early days are still playing out from the future of water and food to the future of immigration. “The architect of the National Reclamation Act, arguably the most important law passed by Congress, gave power to Washington to make irrigation projects,” Boime said. “The author of that law was scared to death Asians were taking over the West. Every argument you hear about terrorism was made about the Japanese in the 1920s. That fear helped make the irrigation laws that created the Valley.” The Colorado River still functions as a border in many ways. Most of its water is allocated to the border area. Over 500 people have died trying to cross the All-American Canal into the U.S. The economies of Mexico and United States and the people and the culture are so intertwined that the immigration debate playing out in mainstream channels doesn’t make much sense to those living in the border region, according to Boime. “I’m a historian but you can’t understand the history of our nation, let alone the history of the Amerian West or Imperial Valley, without robust immigration,” Boime said. “The debate is about a wall when really the (border) fluidity is so essential to the growth of the Imperial Valley.” Boime is finishing a book about conflict over the Colorado River, and how U.S.-Mexico relations influenced allocations of the river. He’s also going to Mexico City with students over the next 10-12 weeks. They will do research in the national archives on Mexicali agriculture and water issues. “The point is to bring those docs over for future students and future scholars,” he said. “I want to make SDSU the school to go to if someone is interested in border issues.” Spring 2019
ADVENTURE | Dr. James Howard with Chuck at Howard Animal Hospital in Brawley. -Photo by Joselito N. Villero
Howard By Bill Gay Writing a 1,000-word piece about the career and accomplishments of Brawley veterinarian Dr. Jim Howard is a challenge. Do you concentrate on the number of patents he has accumulated during his career while he has provided expert care for thousands of pets, such as his pioneering new treatment for canine cardiomyopathies? To a layperson, that’s heart disease in dogs. Or do you write about Jim Howard, the accomplished tenor whose singing background has included a stint with the San Diego Opera? How about his 25 years of work with
Patents, FFA, 4-H, finding causes of illnesses ... and a tiger tale Future Farmers of America and 4-H youngsters and their animal projects? Or his work in Valley feedlots, finding causes for illnesses in cattle. A book could be written alone about his six-month motorcycle trip in the late 1950s through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Europe. That’s where we will start, since that road trip shows the adventurous spirit of this man who has used his creativity to escape a possible tiger attack, develop patents that help cure animal disease, help youngsters with their fair animal projects or perform on stage in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. Shortly after Jim Howard was
discharged from the Army Veterinary Corps in 1957, he jumped on his BMW motorcycle and took himself on the sixmonth excursion through a region, most of which today is better known for war than for its scenery. If it had not been for his creative solution to a menacing tiger in Vietnam, Howard’s story would be a lot shorter. “I was on my way to Laos and came to a river that I could not cross,” he related. In seeking a crossing point, he found a trail through the jungle. But it was late in the day, so he pulled his motorcycle off the trail and set up a tent to stay the night. “I crawled into the tent and went to sleep. About 3 a.m. a tiger roared right next to my tent. I laid there and thought, ‘What should I do.’?” Howard did a quick mental inventory of his defensive capabilities. “I had taken a .22-caliber revolver with me and I had a bayonet I had ‘stolen’ from the Army. So, I decided to just stay there and fight if I had to. I went back to sleep,” he said. Tigers, Howard pointed out, roar to spook prey out of hiding. The future Brawley veterinarian would have no part of that tiger’s ploy. He continued his road trip that also would include a torchlight tour at night of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple complex, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. And near Afghanistan, he outran group of men who attacked him by throwing stones. It was after that road trip that Howard began his civilian veterinary career, first in Montana where he met his wife, JoAnn. Their family was started there with the birth of daughter Holly and son Tim. But soon, the young family moved to Ames, Iowa, where Howard entered Iowa State University graduate school, seeking his Ph.D. in veterinary pathology. Today, he is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. To earn his way through the graduate school, he began innovating new veterinary methods. His research at Ames discovered a way insurance companies could determine the validity of claims that an animal died from a lightning strike. His research included a machine that replicated lightning strikes.
His work in Brawley began after he received his graduate degree. “I felt that society had paid for all of my college training and I owed it to society to repay the debt,” he said. Then he got a call that “they needed a veterinarian in Imperial Valley.” He began his practice specializing in large animals, primarily in feedlots. “The first thing I saw was that there were lots of paralyzed cattle in feedlots.” He soon discovered that vendors selling feed-fats to the feedlots were including fats from toxic industrial waste. The industry soon put a stop to that practice and Howard said that stopped paralysis issues in cattle. There was another issue he discovered that affected only cattle in Imperial Valley. Local cattle were dying from black leg and red water diseases, bacterial and parasitic afflictions that were common in the Valley but not in the Blythe area. Howard discovered the problem was in the water they drank. Cattle in Blythe received water from wells while in the Valley, it originated from the Colorado River. “Someone (upstream from where water enters the Valley) was throwing dead cattle into the Colorado River.”
Dr. James Howard and his wife, JoAnn Howard, in his office at Howard Animal Hospital in Brawley. -Photo by Joselito N. Villero Howard notified the state veterinarian and the problem was stopped. Howard eventually converted his practice to treating smaller animals and that continues today. His innovative research has also continued. In 1998 and 1999, Howard’s research into canine heart disease resulted in two
patents for vitamin care of the affliction. “We were seeing one or two cases of heart failure in dogs regularly and every one of them I treated would die,” Howard said. “We were able to develop a concoction of three vitamins.” Howard said he took the vitamins to a dog food CONTINUED | PAGE 35
BorderLink Some day in the not-too-distant future, every student in Imperial County will, with the flip of a switch, be able to connect to the Internet, leveling the academic playing field and sealing shut the homework gap. BorderLink is the Imperial County Office of Education’s (ICOE) newest initiative to bring wireless Internet connectivity to K-12 students in several local communities as well as to students at Imperial Valley College. The homework gap has been called the “cruelest part of the digital divide,” affecting school children in 5 million homes nationwide without Internet access. Low-income students suffer most from that disparity. MerriamWebster defines the digital divide as “the economic, educational and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not.” Dr. Todd Finnell, Imperial County Superintendent of Schools, and his team at ICOE have found that as teachers increasingly respond to the opportunities for learning that can be found through the Internet, many students are at an immediate disadvantage. “Many of us take (Internet access) for granted,” said Finnell. “Unfortunately, there are still many of our students and families that don’t have Internet access at home. Changing this circumstance will be transformative for them and our communities.” Nationally, about 7 in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access, yet 31 percent of households with incomes below $50,000 with children ages 6 to 17 do not have high-speed Internet connectivity at home, according to the K-12 High Speed
ICOE is building a cutting-edge wireless network that will ensure every student is connected to the Internet at school, at home or in the community. ICOE recently announced that BorderLink is operational in the communities of Brawley, Calexico, El Centro, Heber, Holtville, Imperial, Westmorland,and Niland. - Photo Provided by ICOE
ICOE is closing the connectivity gap for K-12 students
Network. The network, which connects more than 10,000 schools throughout California, was designed and has been managed by the Imperial County Office of Education since 2004. To close the connectivity gap, ICOE has teamed with local school districts to bring wireless Internet connectivity to students in several local communities. BorderLink relies on the same wireless technology that commercial carriers use, known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, or 4G service. “LTE enables connectivity to mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones,” according to a report by ICOE. “It can also connect smart meters, vehicles, traffic signaling, video surveillance, and many other devices that will change how our municipal and county government envisions its services in the community.” Finnell said the issue of inadequate access is not limited to K-12 students. “It was while I was at IVC, from 2010-2014, that we implemented an online component to every course being offered,” he said. “What we didn’t realize, and it’s still true today, is that not all college students have reliable Internet access with which to be successful. Those students without adequate access in the home are at a tremendous disadvantage.” This was brought home when he described a recent interaction with IVC staff members trying to assist a nursing student, who because of where her home was located, had no Internet access making it impossible to complete her online studies from home. She had to spend countless hours at local businesses that offer free Internet or long days at IVC, which made it difficult to balance her family needs and other priorities. This barrier is not only discouraging but has the potential of derailing even the best and brightest of students. “For that nursing student, being able to fully engage in her studies from home is life-changing,” Finnell said. “What we’re doing is transformative for our communities. We truly believe that. While we’re focused on students in the house, we also realize that parents, siblings, and
others will have access to information and resources that will change the way they live.” ICOE’s team has been working with several school districts to set up pilot programs. Each student in the various district pilot programs will be issued devices to be placed in the home. Mobile devices for school buses and other vehicles are also being deployed. Finnell and ICOE have a storied history of bringing high-speed Internet access to Imperial County schools and public agencies. A federal grant nearly two decades ago started a state-of-theindustry fiber optic communications network. A Joint Powers Authority was formed to provide governance of the program, an agreement was reached with the Imperial Irrigation District to share fiber optic cable between communities, along with communication poles, towers, and other resources. The Imperial Valley Telecommunication Authority (IVTA) now maintains the publicly-owned fiber network serving more than 100 schools, city, county, and healthcare agencies in Imperial County. BorderLink will be operated in much the same way. “We’ve built the system,” said Michael Kahler, ICOE’s network operations manager of technology services. “We’re not yet a connected community, but with this, it’s coming.” Kahler and his technology services team have been working with districts involved in the pilot program. “The next step is to move toward full-scale as we learn what works and what doesn’t to better serve our agencies,” said Kahler. Finnell said today’s “flat world,” a term to define global access and dependence upon technology, means those with internet access are able to fully participate and engage in services, information, and resources, which are all increasingly done online. “That’s the world we live in, from schooling to banking to
- Photo by Adobe just about everything we do.” He added, “I challenge any of us with Internet at home to think about how our lives would be different without it. It’s become something we take for granted, such as electricity or water. It’s unfortunate to think that so many of our students don’t share in this life-changing access. My goal is that we get to a place where we don’t even question this any longer.” ICOE expects many local school districts to roll out devices at the start of the school year. Those in the pilots have already begun and are excited with the results so far. ICOE’s goal of making Imperial County the most connected community in the nation is being realized.
The San Diego Section CIF Division Championship crew is shown on the field for the Nov. 28, 2015, game. - Photo provided by John Seaman
Ready for some football? .
By Mickey Dale It may be baseball season in the United States, but one dedicated group in the Imperial Valley sees it as the season to get ready for football. No, it’s not players or coaches, it’s those unsung but vital crews that slip on the striped shirts each fall: referees. Referees have a job that, when done best, is largely unseen. Each call may make half the crowd happy and the other not. It’s a tough job. But, without referees enforcing the code of the game and keeping order, chaos would result. The referees fulfill the difficult job of averting that chaos. On the sidelines of a local high school football game it’s impossible to miss the pressures that these crews of six face in front of a legion of vocal and sometimes antagonistic fans. John Seaman is just one of those special people. An El Centro Police Department sergeant by day, he proudly dons the black and white shirt each Friday night in the fall as he has done since 1992. His passion for being a referee was sparked by chance encounter in the most unlikely place: the county jail. “It was another law enforcement officer
Referees are unsung but vital crews on Valley's high school fields
who I happened to run into at the jail as I was booking someone,” Seaman reflected on his introduction to this part of the sport. “I said, ‘Hey, I see that you do football,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, are you interested in it?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. I'd love to do it.’” Seaman learned about the referee meetings and said, “So I just showed up one day and that's basically how it happened.” He learned by starting to referee Pop Warner football and quickly moved up the ranks to high school with a well-known group of men. “Stan Armstrong, Mike King, Mike Anchondo, Gary Wyatt, Will Torrez and Ralph Cordova, those are the guys I came up with,” Seaman remembers. “I'm the only one left out of that whole group.” A past president of the Imperial Valley Football Officials Association (IVFOA), Seaman is currently vice president of the IVFOA. He wears many other hats off the football field. He is the instructional chair, the Pop Warner assigner and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) liaison with state rules interpreter Steve Coover. Seaman has now ventured into college level refereeing thanks to what he has learned through his CIF connections. This fall will be Seaman’s second season
participating in both high school and college football games. He looks forward to resuming a grueling schedule. While the high school games he referees are mostly in the Imperial Valley, he travels much farther for college football. He attends regular meetings in San Diego and then hits the road on Saturdays, going whenever and wherever he’s assigned a game. Last year, he got a call to help out at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley. He asked for the address and was on his way that Saturday, an over 500-mile round trip. Seaman worked a few games from Chula Vista to Los Angeles last year, but showed up at other games to be seen and let the others know of his willingness to work. He enjoys sharing that passion with others and is always looking to recruit new game officials. Locally, over the last several years the IVFOA has had a tough time recruiting and training new referees. And, in the past two years game days and venues have been changed to spread the thinning corps of referees to cover all the high school games. Seaman and Alan Phillips, game assigner of the IVFOA, attend meetings with the
Valley's high school athletic directors to try and work out schedules as soon as possible so the games can be played with a local crew. The lack of referees isn’t an isolated problem here. It is one playing out across the nation. Seaman believes one reason for that shortage in youth football is that parents won't step up to help. And the fact that youth football parents, in particular, are known to yell at or curse out officials does not make it easy to recruit individuals to become referees. “In high school it's much better,” Seaman said, “because you've got more control. You have athletic directors there. You've got the fence (separating fans from the field). I expect to get yelled at a high school game. That's fine, because I know after the game's over I can go to my car safely and not be followed by a group of parents. In youth football, it doesn't work that way.” Despite the emotions of the game, Seaman said, “This is a great job. This is absolutely a ball. Once they get out there and see that, they're going to be hooked.” Seaman thinks his new position at the college level will help attract new refs because he is basically stepping into their shoes. “I'm kind of starting out new as a college official,” Seaman said. “Because I'm running the sidelines, I'm not a white hat (head referee) obviously. I'm making mistakes and I'm learning and I'm nervous, trying to get on a crew. “So when I get the new guys to come in, I say, ‘I know how you feel. Don't give up. I'm in the same boat. You're going to make mistakes, I'm telling you, I make mistakes and I've been doing this 25-plus years and I get on the college field and I make mistakes because (I’m) nervous. It's new and a lot quicker.’” Things will be going even quicker in high school with the implementation of a 40-second clock. As the season approaches, referees will be instructed on this change that will speed up the
John Seaman flips the coin before an Imperial vs. Brawley game in 2012. - Photo provided by John Seaman game. It will be imperative that individual schools have someone on the sideline with a game ball ready to go as soon as the previous play is over. The opening weekend of games may be a few months away, but enthusiasm is already getting into gear. “I love high school football,” Seaman said recently. “The whole Friday Night Lights, the fans, the bands. All of it.” August will be here before you know it. The players, coaches, cheerleaders, bands will be ready. The referees will be, too. Hopefully, there will be plenty to go around when the opening kickoff gets lined up.
If you are interested in being in the middle of the action of the upcoming football season, the IVFOA encourages you to contact it, attend some meetings, learn the rules and get into the game. You can contact John Seaman at sticky345@Icloud.com
An interior photo of the D'Poly Taco, Grill and Beer dining room and bar in El Centro and a delicious meal being served. - Photo from D'Poly Facebook page
D'Poly By Jayson Barniske
D’Poly Taco, Grill and Beer in El Centro does more than serve Mexican cuisine; it dishes up family tradition. “I grew up cooking with my mom who has had a restaurant since ’98,” said Armando Galeana, a fourth-generation culinary artist who helps tend the family’s kitchen. “Since I was 11 years old, I worked as a waiter. When I turned 16, I switched to the kitchen until I was 21 and went away to school.” Now he’s back in the kitchen of the El Centro eatery where portraits are prominently displayed of the three generations of family matriarchs whose cooking has delighted diners since 1940. Their family tradition can be savored in every bite served at D’Poly Taco, Grill and Beer at 1573 W. Main in El Centro and at D’Poly Taqueria at 1101 Paulin Ave. in Calexico. “All of the recipes we use today originate from my grandmother,” said Teresa Galeana, Armando’s mother, who decided to bring the D’Poly cooking tradition to the Imperial Valley. Her grandmother, Audencia Rocha, opened the family’s first restaurant on the road to San Felipe in 1940. Teresa’s mother, whose nickname is Poly, opened her own restaurant in Mexicali in the ’60s. Spring 2019
Love for food that spans generations
“Everyone called her Doña (Mrs.) Poly. … Shortened it became D’Poly,” Teresa said. “My mother’s restaurant was absorbed into a school and became a cafeteria. She still runs the cafeteria to this day.” Teresa brought the culinary tradition and the D’Poly name north to Calexico in 1998 with her husband, Fernando Galeana. Of their success, Fernando said, “We try to give people the experience of going to Mexicali with better quality food and higher standards for everything” With their newest location, D’Poly Taco, Grill and Beer, which opened in 2018, it is clear the couple imbued their family’s unique style into the long-standing culinary tradition. Every detail of D’Poly Taco, Grill and Beer’s bright, colorful, open space creates a visual fiesta within the dining experience. The restaurant is decorated with hand-painted murals done by a Mexicali artist. “The colors in the artwork are what make it special,” said Miriam Galeana, who is Fernando’s and Teresa’s middle daughter. She is one of the managers of the restaurant. “Coming here, seeing the color itself brings you joy. Then going deeper into the restaurant and seeing the mural of Frida (Kahlo) it makes me proud saying this is my culture.’ The artwork, stylish black and white tile, all the carefully curated special touches
do more than add beauty; they are the stuff of memories. “Frida, El Santo, Maria Felix, Cantiflas…, there are lucha libre wrestlers from back in the day,” Miriam said. “The lotteria (painting) reminds me of when I was younger playing with my grandpa.” The passion poured into the space is apparent even before entering the establishment. “We like the open windows at this location,” Fernando said. “Some businesses use windows like this to advertise. We like it because you can see the ambiance of the place.” While the atmosphere and happy, hip vibe offer a compelling welcome, it is D’Poly food that keeps diners coming back. Both D’Poly locations draw rave reviews on Yelp. “Absolutely love D'Poly’s,” one reviewer wrote. “So glad we have one in El Centro now!!! In my opinion, they have the best tacos in the Valley hands down.” Another reviewer enthused, “The ambiance was great. The look of the drinks was so, so tempting! “The best part was the ‘tray’- 5 different kinds of salsas, and totally 12 different locations. “My favorite thing about working here is the day we make the salsas,” he said. “We make the salsas about twice a week. CONTINUED | PAGE 31
Fountain of Youth
An oasis in the desert
Since its opening in 1965, the Fountain of Youth Spa RV Resort has grown from a small, hidden oasis next to the Chocolate Mountains to a favorite hot spring destination that draws people from all over the world. The expansive facility north of Niland and east of the Salton Sea has been family-owned and operated for more than 50 years. The current management is made up of the founders’ children and grandchildren. “What brings people here, more than anything, is word of mouth,” said Tony Triley, Fountain of Youth chief financial officer, and son of the founder. “What our guests experience here is a friendly atmosphere filled with fun and adventure. With activities for every personality — from crafting to off-roading — there is something here for everyone.” Triley’s memories of the resort begin at 6-7 years of age when his father took him and his brother Joe to work. “We would spend the whole day happily throwing rocks at targets that we would set up,” he said. “I also remember swimming in the Jacuzzi mineral pools when they were in the middle of nowhere, with just parachutes from the nearby bombing range set up for shade. Joe and I both worked at the resort cleaning bathrooms at 4 a.m., hauling garbage, putting in more spaces and building buildings. Since those early days everyone in the family has been involved in some capacity, from management to decorating.” The story of the Fountain of Youth Spa RV Resort started long before today’s enthusiasm for RV camping. Back in 1938, construction workers building the Coachella Canal unearthed hot water hidden beneath the desert floor. They realized the water was too hot and full of minerals to be used to mix concrete, so cooling ponds were constructed, and then left behind. Rediscovered after World War II, the ponds became a “hot spot” that drew attention from workers and others passing through. The therapeutic effects of the water was quickly recognized. It didn’t take long for word to spread, and by the late 1950s people from all over the country were camping by the hot mineral pools. One of these campers was Clyde Hays, a carpenter from Oregon who worked winters in the California desert. Hays saw the potential of a community centered CONTINUED | PAGE 38
VIA IMPERIAL VALLEY
"Unseen Body Blows¨
Most people who remember my father, Alex Gay, will possibly recognize him for his service on the El Centro City Council for two terms, his time as Marketing Director at the William "Bill¨ Gay Imperial Valley Press or his work in bringing a United Way affiliate to the Imperial Valley. Some may remember he developed the concept of Dippy Duck for the Imperial Irrigation District. But few knew about his naval career as a crew member aboard a World War 2 Tank Landing Ship, LST 479. “Unseen Body Blows” is the true story of life aboard one of the first World War 2 Tank Landing Ships as it operated in seven Pacific Campaigns. The story is about a crew that began service aboard LST 479 as a group of very inexperienced amateurs. For many years, I was curious about the war record of my father’s ship. Three years ago, I took a deep dive into its history and the result is this just-released book. While my father is in it, this is not just his story. Thanks to a crew member’s private journal that I discovered at the University of Pennsylvania library, my father’s
HAVE IMPERIAL VALLEY ALIVE! & VALLEY AGRIBUISINESS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME
New book tells story of World War II
records, interviews with crew members and their relatives and examination of many ships’ logs and other wartime records, I have sought to bring a literary life back to this long-forgotten ship. The title is derived from comments in a postwar history written by an anonymous crewman. "Our ship slipped in those almost unseen body blows..." that led to the defeat of Japan. This was a brand new kind of vessel, very secret at first, and its crew consisted of young men from all over the country. Most of them had one thing in common: they had never been to sea. After a series of shakedown cruises where they got lost, suffered collisions, mechanical breakdowns and shot at the wrong practice targets, LST 479 was sent into the August 1943 Kiska invasion in the Aleutians. While the invasion itself was for naught because the enemy had escaped, this young crew became sailors on the way home. They fought their way through a major Alaskan storm, towing a smaller ship. The towed ship, with a crew of 12 aboard, broke loose at the height of the storm and was sinking. In hurricaneforce winds, the LST maneuvered alongside and rescued all 12. While the LST also was damaged in the rescue, this trip proved to be the crucible for the young crewmembers.
"Unseen Body Blows" was written by public relations expert William A. "Bill" Gay.. - Photos By Peggy Dale They would take their LST into six more amphibious campaigns in the Pacific, landing troops in the Gilberts, Marshalls, New Guinea, the Marianas, the Philippines, and Okinawa, rendering "Unseen Body Blows" against the enemy that helped win the war in Japan. More information about the book can be found at www.unseenbodyblows.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ unseenbodyblows/.
Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Email: ___________________________________________________________________
(IMPERIAL VALLEY ALIVE!) (VALLEY AGRIBUSINESS) (Tax included)
Fill out the information and mail it and your check to: Reliance Public Relations, Inc., P.O. Box 1944, El Centro, CA 92244
City: __________________________________________ State: ______________________ Zip: _________________________________________ Country: ______________________ Spring 2019
Max Castillo in his Castillo Construction Co. office in Imperial with mementos collected during his 50 years in construction. - Photo by Susan Giller
Castillo Construction By Jayson Barniske
With photos of prominent, easily recognizable local edifices filling wall after wall of its Imperial headquarters, it quickly becomes clear that the Imperial Valley’s skyline would not be the same without Castillo Construction Co. The images of banks, restaurants, popular retail establishments and large structures of all kinds underscore just how much the firm does to meet the building service needs of just about every major local economic sector from commercial to agriculture to industrial. Celebrating 50 years since it was founded on April 8, 1969, this powerhouse firm keeps on building on the dreams and passion of its founder and president, Max Castillo. “My dad started it,” Natalie CastilloErickson, vice president of Castillo Construction, said. “Until I came in 1991, my dad did it all himself with a small crew. And it’s grown because he is determined and doesn’t get rattled.” Today, as from its beginning, Castillo Construction is dedicated to producing Spring 2019
A legacy built project by project
high-quality projects at reasonable prices while maintaining a personal working relationship with clients. Those relationships and his enthusiasm for building the community liberally pepper the stories Max Castillo tells about the construction industry. Castillo started out working for a title insurance company for eight years before getting going into construction. Then, he worked for another construction company for two years before forming his own company. He started out building affordable housing through a Farmers Home Administration program. “We did a lot of work in Calexico in those days,” he said. “Qualified buyers could get into a house with a $200 down payment.” “Low-income housing was really rewarding because those people always remember you,” Castillo said. “Once people got a place of their own, it changed the dynamics of everything. It gave them a little more incentive to work harder and make money. They paid more taxes … and the county needed that.” Castillo’s commitment to keeping a
personal working relationship with clients while building high-quality projects at reasonable prices remains a basic tenet of the firm. But there have been plenty of other changes in construction over the past 50 years. And he isn’t timid about grabbing onto the new tools of the trade that improve the construction processes. For instance, he said in the past he more than once used an airplane to check on the progress of roofing and other tall construction projects. “I use drones today,” he said. “Drones really improve safety. And they can get a lot closer.” Metal building construction was changing in the 1980s when Castillo construction started working with them. Then, Castillo said, “the whole industry transformed.” The firm still works with metal buildings and other forms of construction. It also does construction management, budget development and subcontractor competitive bidding services. It also specializes in architectural design and construction, and examples of those projects are visible in manufacturing facilities, restaurants, retail and grocery stores, medical facilities, refrigerated warehouses, wastewater treatment facilities, office buildings, hay barns, bus maintenance facilities, churches, industrial buildings, convenience stores and fueling stations throughout the Valley. In the early ‘90s, the company’s focus shifted to commercial projects, CastilloErickson said. “We noticed a big change when we built the Golden Corral (restaurant) in El Centro,” Castillo-Erickson said. “That’s when our business just boomed.” When she tried once to add up all the projects Castillo has done over the past 50 years, she lost count as the numbers grew well into the millions of dollars – and still growing. What started as a small, two-office construction company has now grown into a large headquarters complex at 400 N. Imperial Ave. in Imperial. Today, the firm has its own AutoCAD design department, accounting department, superintendents, company officers and a workforce of between 30 and 50 employees, depending on current projects. And the range of projects Castillo has worked on and tells fond stories about is stunning. One interesting series of CONTINUED | PAGE 39
202 N. 8th St. â€˘ El Centro, CA 92243 For an appointment or assessment please call:
800.817.5292 â€˘ 442.265.1525 www.co.imperial.ca.us/behavioralhealth
An artist's rendering of the March and Ash medical cannabis dispensary to open this summer in Imperial. - Image provided by March and Ash “We want to create shopping experiences that makes browsing for cannabis as safe, educational, and enjoyable as possible,” Marchand Dispensary said. “That’s why we have the most knowledgeable staff and the highest opening in Imperial quality products.” A receptionist will check in customers. Only those individuals who have a doctor’s recommendations and a valid medical marijuana recommendation 60 years of age. “We help patients who will be admitted. Marchand said the don’t want to take pain pills,” he said. dispensary will provide information and Marchand believes the best way to guidance for individuals interested in create a positive image for the oncegetting a recommendation. maligned substance is to operate The facility’s design features a responsibly and openly. “We believe separate room for CBD products to make that with proper education and respect, shopping comfortable for customers with cannabis can serve its positive and productive purpose: to improve everyday differing interests. The name March and Ash refers to lives,” he said. the cycle of and respect for life. March, Artist renderings of the soon to open the first month in the Roman calendar Imperial medical dispensary show and the beginning of spring, connotes March and Ash’s hallmark values of the season of life’s renewal. Ash is what transparency and respect are built right remains at life’s end and what fertilizes into the facility. The facility is entered new beginnings. through a comfortable and relaxing The company’s website states, “March waiting area featuring an interior wall and Ash represents a respect for the of windows that looks into the medical span of our lives and the role cannabis dispensary. plays to improve and renew it.” Inside, cannabis products, including March and Ash was the only CBD, edibles, flower products, dispensary permitted by the City of concentrates and more are displayed Imperial following a competitive selection in a wide-open showroom with distinct process. rustic touches. Giving a nod to the Alexis Chalupnik, management analyst agricultural ethos of the Imperial Valley, and public information officer for the the dispensary is rich with greenery and CONTINUED | PAGE 36 even boasts a large, wooden tractor.
When March and Ash opens its doors in Imperial this summer it will become the Imperial Valley’s first licensed medical cannabis dispensary. Within the bright and elegant facility at 2433 Marshall Ave., south of the fairgrounds, March and Ash will do more than sell product; it plans to redefine public perceptions about cannabis. “Cannabis, for all its curative potential, is too often characterized as part of society’s counterculture,” said Blake Marchand, March and Ash CEO. “We want to challenge that presumption. Cannabis helps millions of Americans lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. “Teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, mothers, grandfathers, patients, and yes, even man’s best friend, are leading better lives by using cannabis responsibly,” he added. Dispelling yet another misconception, Marchand noted most of the patients at March and Ash’s dispensaries in Southern California are between 50 and Spring 2019
Drones joining Sheriff’s rural patrol
Drones equipped with night vision capabilities soon will be added to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office’s crime-fighting efforts in the county’s agricultural areas. ICSO is awaiting approval by the Board of Supervisors for two drones, officially called small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS), to help prevent ag-related crime. Funding for the project comes from the county Ag Public Benefits Fund, which is made up of revenue collected from solar developments. The Ag Benefits Committee, which is managed by the county Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, has recommended the drone project be funded. Use of drones by law enforcement is a nationwide trend, said Sheriff’s Lt. Jimmy Duran. The technology fits well in the county Sheriff’s Department, which aims to be on the cutting edge of technology and the regulations that accompany them. “SUAS initially were geared for patrol operations and special operations,” Duran said. “Then we found an application for the farming community.” While awaiting Federal Aviation Administration approval for patrol purposes, Duran said the Sheriff’s Office is using the SUAS it already owns for advisory and surveillance purposes. The new drones awaiting supervisors' approval will supplement equipment already in use. As part of agricultural crime prevention, the Sheriff’s Office surveys property and gives pointers that Duran called “environmental design.” Using a drone’s vantage point, the Sheriff’s Office can help identify weaknesses in the layout of farm property and shops. “Where should the trees go? Where should the farm shop go?” he asked. Using a photo taken by an SUAS from above an El Centro-area farming operation, he noted points of easy access for a would-be thief. “Once a farmer sees the farm from the air, they see the weak spots and can strategize with us,” Duran said. “The Sheriff’s Office uses technology in many ways,” he said. “When it comes to the farming community, we were doing it the old-fashioned way, mainly for lack of funding.” Agriculture-related crimes don’t have the same pull as higher-profile crimes so other funding sources have to be found. “We found out there was an opportunity through the Ag Commissioner for a grant,” Duran said and the agency applied. He noted that thieves are opportunists: “They go to take one thing and seize the opportunity to take others.” Frequently thieves stash what they’ve taken and pick it up later, all of which can be captured through surveillance measures and provide evidence for court. The new technology will help with convictions, he said, with “undeniable evidence.” “Technology brings hard evidence you otherwise won’t get,” Duran said. “If we don’t have hard evidence, a lot of cases CONTINUED | PAGE 37 Spring 2019
- Photos provided by John T. Whitehead
A walk on the wild side
Local wildlife photographer John T. Whitehead turned his encounter with peninsular bighorn sheep while hiking in the Anza-Borrego desert into a form of freestyle poetry, weaving into it the mythical nature of a raven he came across. “I have always been intrigued by the native American stories about the raven and its shape-shifting abilities,” Whitehead Whitehead said. “Although ‘Thirsty’ is a story about my encounter with desert bighorn sheep, now two years ago, it is a blend of two diﬀerent hikes, either of which could be considered typical,” said Whitehead. “I try to follow something but often end up photographing something else, like the raven. Sometimes I get a feeling and follow a hunch; usually I’m getting to the point where water has become a concern but stumble on to a rare occurrence, like the sheep.”
Time to turn back the water bottle says so. Yet a raven urged me deeper into the canyon. The air is cool, the shadows are long. Just ﬁve more minutes I tell myself. Like a shepherd, the raven makes sure I follow. The dark bird makes short ﬂights then waits. As a living ﬁeld guide the raven seems to speak. “There is more here than a pile of rocks.” “Be deliberate with your footsteps.” “Stop to breathe and take it all in.” When the raven is absent things emerge from the rocks. Suddenly a stone tumbles down the canyon side. How long had the sheep been standing there? No abrupt movements but still, I had to blink. Then four more nomads emerge from the earth. A living Bev Doolittle painting before me! Just how long have I been in the sun? Quietly the quintet moved higher up the slope. With just one gulp left I had to go. My own thirst aside I had to wonder, When was the last time the sheep had a drink? I don’t know what became of the raven.
-By John T. Whitehead
Imperial Valley's homegrown restaurants offer lots of tasty choices
Mexican Restaurant S: 9 AM - 10 PM M: 9 AM - 10 PM T: 9 AM - 10 PM W: 9 AM - 10 PM
T: 9 AM - 10 PM F: 9 AM - 11 PM S: 9 AM - 11 PM
D'Poly Cocina Mexicana has been serving the Imperial Valley since 1998. All our dishes are made from scratch and with the recipes brought from Mexico by our founders. P 1573 West Main St El Centro, California 92243 $ 760-970-4243 (
Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant S: 6 AM - 2 PM M: 6 AM - 2 PM T: 6 AM - 2 PM W: 6 AM - 2 PM
T: 6 AM - 2 PM F: 6 AM - 2 PM S: 6 AM - 2 PM
Serving home-style food since 1979, The Broken Yolk CafĂŠ is a favorite among local San Diegans & hungry visitors alike with great food & great service! P 3049 N Imperial Ave., El Centro, California 92243 $ 760-352-9655 I www.thebrokenyolkcafe.com/el-centro (
American (traditional) and Mexican S: CLOSED M: 5 AM - 6:30 PM T: 5 AM - 6:30 PM W: 5 AM - 6:30 PM
T: 5 AM - 6:30 PM F: 5 AM - 6:30 PM S: 5 AM - 4:30 PM
Johnny's Burritos is a family-run bushiness est. 1963. Open Monday through Saturday serving home made traditional Mexican and American food. P 490 D St., Brawley, California 92227 $ 760-344-0961
Would you like your restaurant on this page? Contact Bill Amidon at 928-246-5654 for details.
Desert in bloom
Readers share abundance of spring flowers
Henderson Canyon in Anza-Borrego State Park, March 24. - Photo by Jasmyn Phillips
- Photo by Amy Loper
Coyote Canyon, Anza-Borrego State Park. - Photo by John Reed
Ladies' Jeep ride. - Photo by AJ Gaddis Spring 2019
At Tule Wash, Salton City. - Photo by Velma Ruiz Pacrem
- Photo by Cindy V Verdugo
- Photo by April Schoneman Walker
Coyota Canyon, Anza Borrego State Park. - Photo by Danny Garcia
Gettysburg Wash off Borrego Salton Seaway. - Photo by Velma Ruiz Pacrem
Fishhook cactus along Jojoba Wash. - Photo by Kim McDonald Spring 2019
An automated lettuce thinner designed by Brawley grower Mike Sudduth and his partner works a field in Salinas. - Photo provided by Sudduth Farms Inc.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to manually thin a lettuce crop, but apparently being inventive can make the process much more efficient. That is why one local grower and his Salinas-based partner developed a computercontrolled, robotic system that gets the job done faster, cheaper and, as a bonus, improves the yields. Mike Sudduth of Brawley came up with the idea for the system now used on his farm and that of his partner, Costa and Sons, in Salinas after the mechanical, or automated thinners, he tried didn’t adequately do the job. So, he did what he said farmers routinely do. “Farmers here are pretty notorious for inventing what they need on the farm when they need it,” said Sudduth, who is an Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association Advisory Board member. Typically, lettuce seeds are planted close together to ensure enough seedlings sprout for the crop. When seedlings grow, they are thinned to about a foot apart so there is enough space for the lettuce to mature. The thinning is commonly done manually with a hoe. Yet there has been a proliferation of automated thinners coming to market because the cost of labor has skyrocketed while farm labor is becoming more difficult to find. Early mechanical lettuce thinners tried to replicate the motion of a hoe cutting out unwanted seedlings. However, Sudduth found they had a tendency to nick or damage the remaining plants. And worse, he said, mechanical thinners were worthless after a storm or on wet ground. So, he decided to come up with something he could design specifically for his fields. The partners’ idea was an automated system to burn out unwanted plants with a heavy dose of fertilizer. “Nobody was making anything like it,” Sudduth said, so he experimented by walking through his fields with a backpack sprayer to determine the amount of fertilizer needed, how long to spray and other field specifics. Then, Sudduth and Costa worked with San Diego tech CONTINUED | PAGE 37
D'POLY CONTINUED FROM | PAGE 16
Tacos and salsas. - Photo from D'Poly Facebook page When I make the salsa, it is mildly spicy, but it gets spicier each day.” D’Poly serves five salsas, ranging from two that are mild to the chile de arbol, which Armando described as hotter than habanero. “The base of the salsas is the same as my grandmother used to make, but I’ve made a few little changes,” he said. “I think (a little) change is good and that salsas just keep getting better.” Armando also is credited with adding a few new recipes that quickly became modern traditions, “La Chona was a mistake at first. Sometimes when we make a quesadilla the cheese spills out on the pan and gets fried. “Instead of disregarding these quesadillas, we made La Chona. It tastes great. La Tacuache has peppers, cheese, al pastor, onion and cilantro. My mom loves it.” Even as he creates new masterpieces in the kitchen, Armando is surrounded by family traditions. “My grandmother always said, ‘If you are going to do something do it with passion. If you like it, you will do it with passion and everything will run smoothly.” Armando added, “I fell in love with food when I was young. It was my passion ... in life, there are good and hard days, but with the restaurant every day is a good day.” For Teresa, D'Poly Taco, Grill and Beer is the realization of a dream. “I had a vision to build this restaurant over many years,” she said. “I was very nervous to share my vision, but I am very pleased with the way the restaurant turned out.” Spring 2019
Calendar of Events May 11 La Cachimba Live @ Rocky's 9:00 p.m., Rocky's Bar & Grill, 1445 Ocotillo Dr, El Centro. $5.00 Cover All Night Drinks Specials Live music from 10:15 till 1:45 AM
May 16 Desert Museum Wine Tasting & Silent Auction 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., El Centro Community Center, 375 S. 1st St., El Centro. Join Imperial Valley Desert Museum and its board of directors in its Wine Tasting & Silent Auction in downtown El Centro. Wines will be sampled from the Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, courtesy of Baja Food and Wine. Enjoy a menu of tasty bites and place bids on the variety of art, goods, and activities up for auction in 2019. All proceeds benefit the IVDM Endowment Fund.
May 17 IVCL Golf Tournament 8 a.m. tee off, Classic Club Golf Resort, 75200 Classic Club Blvd., Palm Desert. The Imperial Valley Coalition of Life Golf Tournament benefiting the Imperial
The information included in the print version of Imperial Valley Alive! is what was available by publication deadline. Visit our calendar online at www.imperialvalleyalive.com and submit your event information.
Valley Coalition for Life 501c3 non-profit organization (dba IV Lifecenter / IV Coalition for Life) will be held at the Classic Golf Club Resort in Palm Desert. Shotgun tee time for the four-man shamble tournament is at 8 a.m. Event registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, and tournament entry. For information, contact event coordinator Erik Freeman at (760) 9603145 or email the ivcoalitionforlife@ gmail.com.
Imperial. Admission at the door is $30; $15 for active and retired military.
Wasupwu Productions & I.V Lucha presents "The Come Back" 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Barbara Worth Country Club 2050 Country Club Dr., Holtville. Imperial Valley are you ready for Real Pro Wrestling! Mexican Lucha Libre! Live! and in your Face Action! Tickets can be purchased at: Barbara Worth Country Club 1-760-3565800 Vikings GYM in Holtville 1-760-595-2452 Wasupwu Comedy 1-760-460-6088
May 18 Crown Craft Beer Invitational 5 p.m. to midnight, Imperial Valley Expo,
May 18 Jacumba Hot Springs Bluesfest 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Jacumba Hot Springs Spa and Resort, 44500 Old Highway 80, Jacumba Hot Springs Breakfast at 10 a.m. Music begins at noon. There will be vendors, a barbecue and raffles.
Conference on Caring for the Caregiver 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Ricochet Rec Center, 450 W. Aten Road, Imperial. Join us for family caregivers caring for adults with dementia, Alzheimerâ€™s disease and other related conditions. Learn about memory loss and the importance of a healthy diet. There will be breakfast, lunch, speakers, community resources and an opportunity drawing. For information, call (858) 285-8129.
June 1 Quarter Mania 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Eagles Lodge 661 W State St, El Centro.
A cross between an auction and a raffle where you bid on raffle prizes donated by individuals and businesses. Your table of 8 purchase ($200) includes reserved seating, 8 drink tickets, dinner, & 16 paddles. Bring your quarters or order from us. To be entered in the raffle you put the number of quarters that auction costs in the bucket. Prizes range from $10 to $100+. All proceeds benefit Spread the Love Charity.
June 13 El Centro Chamber of Commerce's 113th Annual Dinner Meeting 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse, 796 W. Evan Hewes Highway, El Centro. Cost is $65 per person and $480 per table of eight. Join us as we celebrate the success of current President Terri Rogers and welcome incoming President Anne Irigoyen. Evening includes dinner, silent auction, special awards and recognition, and the presentation of the William G. Duflock Business Excellence Award, Citizen of the Year and Ambassador of the Year awards. For more information, call membership coordinator Julissa Ayala at (760) 352-3681.
Brawley Chamber of Commerce's Branding Iron Gala 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Stockmen’s Club, 275 Marjorie Ave., Brawley. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is at 6 p.m. Cost is $75 per person. Events include dinner, silent auction, special awards and recognition, and presentation of the Branding Iron Award. Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments under the leadership of President Ralph Fernandez and welcome incoming President Dr. Kathleen Lang. For information, call (760) 344-3160.
Freedom Fest 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Imperial Valley College. Fourth of July celebration with food, music and arts & crafts.
June 21 Venuemania 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Ricochet Rec Center, 450 W. Aten Road, Imperial. This event will be VenueMania’s third anniversary. VWE’s high-flying and spectacular stunts merge Lucha Libre, American professional wrestling and strong-style wrestling. Ringside tickets are $30 (first two rows); $20 general admission. For more information, call (760) 909-9664.
July 27 40z to Freedom (Sublime) 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Hot Rods & Beer, 235 W 5th St, Holtville. Dane Scott - lead vocals / lead guitar. Dane is a 6-time San Diego Music Award nominee for his work with the band, Tubby, and with 40 Oz. 40 oz won the San Diego Music Award for best tribute band in 2010.
July 27 Sip of Julian 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Julian Town Hall, 2129 Main St, Julian. Julian Tasting Rooms offering samples of their wine, beer, hard cider, mead or craft cocktails On Saturday, July 27th, 2019, the Julian Chamber of Commerce is co-hosting the 5th Annual ‘Sip of Julian’. The Sip features many of Julian’s alcoholic beverage purveyors. Proof that we’re not just about apples and great pie, we have growers and producers of wine, craft beer, mead (honey wine), craft cocktails, and delicious hard cider, offering up a sampling of their delicious hand-crafted specialties.
MUSEUM CONTINUED FROM | PAGE 7
Anthony Acosta, an SDSU IV student, reviews a photographic slide from the Morlin Childers collection at the Desert Museum. -Photo by Joselito N. Villero It has not been an easy process to complete. “I was kind of nervous about it at first,” said student Esteban Ayala, whose research paper uses data from the archaeological treasure trove to focus on the topic of medicinal and healing practices of the Kumeyaay. “Now I have a better understanding. It’s a much deeper process than we’ve ever done before, but it’s really interesting. It’s quite eye-
opening.” Actually, this isn’t the first time the Desert Museum has helped guide SDSU IV students toward future careers in history. Dr. Herrera said one campus graduate who interned at the museum as a student is now in graduate school studying museum management. Another, Marcie Landeros, is the current museum manager. Dr. Herrera’s current students say their
academic research expedition has been full of twists and turns. Many have had new insights, some close at hand. “I always saw it (the museum) when I went to San Diego,” Ayala said. “Now I see what people are excited about.” Some of the students, including, Anthony Acosta, concede the topic opened their eyes to a world they knew little about right here at home. Acosta said he’d never heard about Childers or the Yuha man or Truckhaven man, another set of early skeletal remains found in the desert area around Ocotillo Wells. Now, however, the premise of his research paper is that Von Werlhof and Childers, two of the founders of the Desert Museum, had a profound and lasting effect on the field of archaeology. “They put the Valley on the map with what they found,” Acosta said. “They were the first, others followed.” As their research work comes to a close, the students are looking toward the future. “I was surprised at how alive the topic (archaeological interest in the region) is today,” Aguilera said. “With what we learned, we may help lay stepping stones for the future’s understanding of the past.”
DR. HOWARD CONTINUED FROM | PAGE 11
manufacturer. “They said we can’t put stuff into rations because it costs too much.” Howard’s research became public on the Internet and dog food makers did independently start using the vitamins. “We had patents but never got rich. The upside, though, was dogs stopped dying.” In the early 1970s, the Howards built their office south of Brawley. It was designed for not only care of animals but also research. Soon, they became a home to animals being raised for 4-H and FFA projects. It was started when the Howard children, Holly, Tim and Alison, were raising animals for the fair. To house the various animals there and become a member of what became known as “Howard’s Kids,” youths and their parents needed to do their part. The deal was the youths (and parents) had to build and clean the pens as well as care for their animals. JoAnn Howard remembers, “It was a community of many 4-H clubs and FFA (chapters). We would practice show days where parents participated.” She added, “I think Jim won the day when he showed our boar.” The Howards also were hands-on. Jim provided
Dr. James Howard, with the help of an assistant, checks out a pet named Sally at Howard Animal Hospital, Brawley. - Photo By Joselito N. Villero veterinary care for the animals as well as instruction on how to make their own feed. Youths raising their pigs there could be seen as a group, daily walking their pigs from the Howards, along the Mansfield Canal and down the Cattle Call Hill and back. Frequently the animals took a swim in the canal to cool off on the return leg.
There also was other help, like the time a young girl’s pig refused to make the climb back up the Cattle Call hill. JoAnn Howard came to the rescue and with marshmallows convinced the stubborn hog it needed to get home to its pen. “Those years were the best years of our lives,” Jim Howard said with a smile. “Such a fun time.”
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An artists rendering of the March and Ash medical cannabis dispensary waiting room set to open this summer in Imperial. - Image provided by March and Ash city of Imperial, said, “Considering how conservative voters are in the city, we hired (a consultant and put) the applicants through a rigorous screening process. “So far, they (March and Ash) have met all deadlines imposed by the city of Imperial and are working very closely with law enforcement,” she added. Spencer Andrews, March and Ash’s outreach manager, said, “We realize this
is a close-knit community and we are working to be a good neighbor here.” Cannabis today has morphed into a refined and regulated business that can benefit the communities it serves in a multitude of ways, including added taxes and employment. Imperial will benefit from the dispensary through a sales tax on the medical marijuana ordinance it recently adopted.
In addition to an 8 percent sales tax, Marchand said the dispensary plans to contribute 1 percent of its revenue to local nonprofits selected by the city. Marchand is enthusiastic about employment opportunities that will develop with the cannabis industry in the Valley. March and Ash recently held a hiring event to get staff hired and trained for the dispensary’s opening. More information about the upcoming Marsh and Ash opening in Imperial and jobs available is available online at www.marchandash.com/Imperial. “Hiring in the community is a plus for March and Ash,” Marchand said. “At first, we will have 25 to 30 positions for people in the community. We expect that number to double in 6 months. Our location in San Diego has been open for 6 months and operates with a staff of 67.” Though March and Ash is a new business to the Valley, Marchand is no stranger to the area. “We know the area well and grew up going to the desert and the river,” he said. “Our hope is to introduce our services and bring a successful service to the people here.”
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won’t proceed.” Duran said the Sheriff’s Office needs the farm community’s backing for technology such as SUAS to be most effective. “From a farming perspective,” he said, “this is preventative as well as it has investigative advantages.” “Technology allows us to cover a bigger area. This device allows night checks with less manpower,” he said. “The Sheriff’s Office does farm checks at random. We believe this will allow us to be more effective, plus drones make it safer for our deputies.” First though, he said, is to have in place the policies, training curriculum, deployment guidelines, and safety precautions required for SUAS use by a law enforcement agency. “We want to do it the right way,” he said.
firm Vision Robotics to design a computerized system that a tractor pulls through lettuce fields. The system uses a camera to feed information to the onboard computer that determines where, how much and when the material is sprayed. Later, they worked with Claude Brown at AIM Manufacturing in Lodi to build the boxes for the spray mechanism. “It took a lot of money to get it to work the first few years,” he said. Since then, Sudduth Farm’s Josh Sells has operated the system during the Valley’s lettuce season and Peter Dossche has operated the system for Costa and Sons in Salinas the rest of the year. And the system continues to have good results without much other than regular repairs and maintenance. The value of automated thinners is undeniable. A 2014 study by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, found mechanical thinning was nearly three times as efficient and effective as the manual method. Estimates are that a tractor-driven system can cut down on 20 to 25 workers in a field. And, it turns out, Sudduth’s system has an additional benefit. Because
An automated lettuce thinner designed by Brawley grower Mike Sudduth and his partner works a field in Salinas. - Photo provided by Sudduth Farms Inc. the automated system creates such uniform spacing between plants, Sudduth said his crop yields have increased. Kay Day Pricola, IVVGA executive director, wasn’t the least bit surprised by the system Sudduth developed. “Valley produce growers are incredibly ingenious and tenacious at working to develop solutions. It’s always great to see how well things turn out.”
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Fountain of Youth Spa. - Photos from the Fountain of Youth Spa Facebook page around the relaxing hot springs. To bring his vision to fruition, Hays worked with local contractor, J.T. Trily, who ultimately found the best spot to tap the hot springs. The well drilled began to produce 250 gallons a minute of 137 degree water. The Fountain of Youth Spa RV Resort was founded using water from that well, which still supports its pools today. With a pH value of 6.55 and dissolved mineral content of 4,585 parts-per million, generations of guests have found relief in the water’s
pain-relieving properties, whether for easing sore muscles and minor aches or treating conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Beyond the water lies a bustling community, spotless five-star amenities, and no shortage of dramatic sunsets and picturesque views in every direction. The facility boasts 835 RV hookups and 165 dry campsites, three recreation halls and a host of recreational facilities. “It's a place that you have to experience to know,” said Tony Trily.
“If we build a new building or install a new activity, the guests will immediately create a club and start having tournaments and awards parties. Our guests really know how to enjoy life, and love to share that with all of the other guests. We have over 50 amenities and activities to choose from each season. Last season we brought in hot air balloon rides. We have a parade every Christmas and every February to celebrate our anniversary. After the parade is a carnival in the town square followed by the CanAm games (Canada vs the United States), with donut eating, pie eating, tug of war, etc. “Fountain of Youth is a slice of living like I had growing up in the ’60s and ’70s. Hometown, friendly, welcoming, low-key, good, clean fun. If you come to visit, you will come back. I've heard story after story about people who were visiting for a day or just came in to do laundry or visit a friend and ended up staying for a month or even purchasing a home before they left. Come out, visit, stay and you will experience what so many others have. You'll love it.”
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projects he mentioned involved Ormat Technologies geothermal facilities. Castillo said he started working with Ormat in the early 1990s when the geothermal developer wanted facilities constructed at its East Mesa complex. And he’s completed several local projects for Ormat since then. Ormat liked his work so much that it later brought Castillo over to Hawaii repeatedly to construct facilities at its geothermal project on the Big Island. Castillo has stories and memorabilia from projects large and small that he has tackled through the years. A stack of Life magazines from the 1940s, a vintage leather football helmet and other keepsakes he displays on shelves in his office came from an old Calexico property where he was building apartments. Inert bombs share places of honor in his displays. They are mementos from work he did on military installations locally and in Yuma and Nevada. When asked to name a particularly meaningful project, he pointed to one photo and said, “I’m looking at the Arc of Imperial Valley building (at 298 E. Ross Road) in El Centro,” he said. “They help out a lot (with individuals with special
needs). Arturo Santos (executive director) was a pleasure to work with.” Castillo’s commitment to the community goes even further. He is a member of the Imperial County Planning Commission and has been since he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2011. He’s also proud to be one of the founding members of Community Valley Bank and is enthusiastic about the local businesses thriving thanks to loans the bank has made. Despite the challenges of the construction industry, Castillo has boundless optimism. “There will be a lot of building work to do here in the future,” he said. “The Imperial Valley is growing.” After 50 years in the business, Castillo isn’t planning to go anywhere soon. “Now we do a lot of work with a lot of people and that makes it hard to retire. Because it is really rewarding.” Meanwhile, the impact of Castillo’s work continues to grow. “All the work he does is leaving a legacy,” Castillo-Erickson said. “You can see it on the walls” throughout Castillo Max Castillo in his Castillo Construction Co. office in Imperial. - Photo by Susan Giller Construction’s offices.
Heart & Hand Family owned and operated, Heart & Hand Assisted Living, Inc. understands that caring for a loved one is both a joy and a responsibility. Whether it’s encouraging residents to be independent or providing companionship, security and comfort, it is Heart & Hand’s quality of service that has earned its reputation of being the “place to live.” On a quiet street lined with manicured homes lies a respite for Imperial Valley residents and their loved ones. Licensed in the Imperial Valley since March 2006, mother and daughter team Patty McGrew and Jennifer McGrew-Thomason have transformed an outwardly unassuming home into a beautiful, spacious 14-bed facility. Residents enjoy nutritious and delicious home-cooked meals, housekeeping and laundry services, medication management and lifeenhancing activities. The facility is also equipped with 24-hour staffing to provide transportation to and from appointments, personal care assistance, as well as palliative/hospice care. Heart & Hand understands that often Imperial Valley residents would rather enjoy remaining in their own home and is the only local agency licensed and bonded by the state of California to
In-home care loved ones can count on provide hourly care. Heart & Hand In-Home Care, LLC caregivers are extensively trained, bonded and insured. Additionally, all staff members undergo random drug testing as well as federal and state background checks. Services may be permanent or on an as-needed basis. With a registered nurse on staff and 13 years of experience with assisted living, Heart & Hand In-Home Care provides services across the Imperial Valley, from Brawley to Calexico, from Seeley to Ocotillo. In-Home Care ranges from providing transportation, caring for a few hours, a weekend, or for 24/7 care. Heart & Hand also provides “Wellness Check” services, which could include a shower, changing sheets and lining up medication or making sure groceries are stocked and cooking a meal. “There really isn’t anything that we don’t do,” said McGrew-Thomason. Crediting her mom with the vision of Heart & Hand, the two share the responsibility of providing top-quality services to the elderly. “It hasn’t always been easy as a joint venture together, but it’s been very worthwhile and I believe we’ve helped a lot of people.” Graduating from Holtville High
Patty McGrew and her daughter Jennifer McGrew-Thomason. - Photo provided By Heart & Hand School, McGrew-Thomason earned a degree in social work. Soon after she found herself in a career serving the geriatric community that has now spanned the last 30 years. Currently, McGrew-Thomason manages 30 employees at the facility and 31 in the in-home team. “It’s in my heart to take care of people,” said McGrew-Thomason, who is careful and diligent in matching the needs of the individual in-home and at the facility with the most appropriate caregiver. It’s that attention to detail and commitment to fostering relationships that drives McGrew-Thomason. “We’re here and we love it,” said McGrew-Thomason. “I want to be there for people.”
ECRMC volunteers These days Hospital volunteers do a lot more than offer a warm and friendly smile to those entering a busy, sterile and sometimes confusing medical complex. At El Centro Regional Medical Center, hospital volunteers are a vital part of the healing community. The hospital’s large and diverse group of volunteers provide a wide range of services to help advance patient engagement and quality care. They were recognized at an event April 10 that coincided with National Volunteer week. Ana Gomez, ECRMC Volunteer Services Coordinator, said, “We really want to make them feel appreciated because what they do is important in so many ways.” One unique group of volunteers not only provides dedicated service but also is gaining experience to prepare for careers in medical fields at the same time. They are volunteers like Priscilla Felix, a junior at Southwest High School in El Centro, and Sebastian Martinez, a senior at Calexico High School. Both are volunteers in Career Path, an ECRMC program for 16- to Sebastian Martinez, Calexico High School 22-year-olds. These volunteers work under supervision in various hospital senior and ECRMC Career Path volunteer. departments learning and assisting with different aspects of patient care. “Basically, we go wherever they need us,” said Felix, who volunteers 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays during the school year. “I’m always learning something new.” Currently, she works in the medical-surgical wing but said she has also worked in the emergency room, intensive care unit (ICU) and has helped sterilize and prepare instruments for surgery. “I have done a little of everything,” Martinez said, who has been in Career Path for two years. At the April Volunteers Appreciation Event, he received a pin recognizing him for the 1,000 hours of volunteer service he has provided to ECRMC. “It’s always interesting,” he said. All Career Path volunteers receive advanced CPR training before they can work in the medical-surgical wing. Then they are paired with more experienced volunteers who help train and mentor them. Felix and Martinez are among the program’s more experienced volunteers. They are called Representatives, a designation that they received both for their proficiency and dedicated service. The two help select, train and mentor other volunteers who compete for spots in the coveted program.
Priscilla Felix, Southwest High School junior and ECRMC Career Path volunteer. -Photos provided by ECRMC Felix, who started volunteering at ECRMC as a junior volunteer, or Candy Striper, said she became interested in nursing as a child. “I always enjoyed helping others,” she said. For her, Career Path provides early experience in her chosen career. Martinez said he initially wanted to become a pilot. When he needed outpatient surgery at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, he saw how nurses worked and his interest in the profession grew. He now wants to eventually combine both interests by working with an air ambulance service. And, he’s moving full speed ahead toward achieving his nursing goals. In addition to being a Career Path volunteer, he is completing the work to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) while he’s still in high school. He plans to attend Imperial Valley College (IVC) in the fall with the intention of studying to become a Registered Nurse. Martinez said some of the Career Path volunteers find their experience helpful in getting jobs. Some current Career Path volunteers are leaving the program soon, he said, because they are being hired as CNAs. Silvestre Benitez, an ECRMC ICU nurse, was a Career Path volunteer for five years. He did not quit until he graduated from the IVC nursing program and received his RN certification in 2017. “My friends convinced me in about my sophomore year (of Southwest High School) to get into (Career Path) to see Silvestre Benitez, an if I’d like nursing,” he said. “I loved it. It’s ECRMC ICU nurse and very hands on. It really helped me.” former Career Path He said Career Path became even
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Arturo Macias, Imperial Valley College sophomore and ECRMC adult volunteer.
more important while he was in the nursing program at IVC. “When I learned something in class, I’d come here and see it and try it,” he said. And, when classwork was really tough, volunteering provided him a reminder at why all the hard work was worth it. Though Benitez was hired as an RN at ECRMC in 2017, he is still in school. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from San Diego State University Imperial Valley in May. Yet Benitez’ enthusiasm for Career Path hasn’t dimmed. He actually helps recruit other young people to apply for the program. It was after a career symposium over the summer that Benitez spoke to Arturo Macias, an IVC sophomore, who is now an ECRMC adult volunteer. Volunteers must serve for at least three months before they can apply for the
Career Path program. Macias, completing prerequisites to get into the IVC nursing program, said volunteering gives him a better view of what the profession entails. He currently is working as an adult volunteer to sterilize, wrap and label instruments for surgery. “Volunteering helps me understand things better,” Macias
said. “Even helping with inventory helps me understand how the hospital works. Being a volunteer has opened a lot of doors for me already.” Not all volunteers get involved in the inner workings of the hospital. Some, including El Centro resident Anita Slobig, bring a special talent to help humanize the hospital. Slobig is one of a handful of volunteers who intermittently play the baby grand piano donated to ECRMC that stands in the lobby and waiting area. Slobig became an ECRMC volunteer shortly after she retired as the choir Anita Slobig, El teacher at Southwest High School. Centro resident who When she learned the hospital volunteers to play the needed piano players, she said, “I piano at ECRMC. thought, this is something I could do for Photos provided by ECRMC the community.” During her stint at the piano, Slobig said she plays soft background music; sometimes gospel music, sometimes Broadway show tunes. The other day, she said, a young man approached and commented that the music “is so nice and soothing at a time when many come in for something not so nice.” Slobig encouraged others with musical talent to consider becoming an ECRMC volunteer “so there will be music playing more of the time.” More information about the volunteer program is available at https://www.ecrmc.org/patients-visitors/volunteers/
ECRMC Outpatient Imaging Center The ECRMC Outpatient Imaging Center is now located in our Medical Office Building and includes a variety of state-of-the-art equipment to better serve the region.
Expanded services include: • 3D Mammography • Breast MRI, Ultrasound & Interventional Breast Procedures • Computed Tomography (CT) • Diagnostic X-Ray • MRI • Ultrasound
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Imperial Valley Alive! is a quarterly magazine for newcomers, visitors and those who want to rediscover all the region has to offer. From co...
Published on Nov 6, 2019
Imperial Valley Alive! is a quarterly magazine for newcomers, visitors and those who want to rediscover all the region has to offer. From co...