Currently viewing the tag: "Holtville Tribune"

The Holtville Woman’s Club will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 at the club house at 219 E. Sixth Street, Holtville.


In honor of Women’s History Month in March, the program will feature two speakers from the Blue Angels team, Administrative Officer Lt. Holly Taylor and Events Chief, Chief Jennifer Jones.  Both women are the recipients of many commendations and awards.


The public is invited to attend the meeting.

(El Centro, CA) – California Public Utility Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval heads a list of distinguished renewable energy experts slated to speak at the Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit set for March 13-15.

Registration is still open for “The Power to Renew California” Summit that will be held at the Barbara Worth Resort and Country Club in Holtville.

Additional speakers include: luncheon keynote speaker Glenda Humiston, state director of USDA Rural Development; Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of the Independent Energy Producers Association and former chair of the governing board of the California Independent System Operator; and Mary Ingersoll, president/CEO of TeamCalifornia.

“The number and caliber speakers at the Summit this year is extraordinary,” said Tim Kelley, Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp. president/CEO. “The expertise, insight and vision they represent will provide a great opportunity to explore the progress made by the region’s maturing renewable energy industry as well as a forum to discuss the challenges that still lie ahead.”

Sandoval was appointed to the PUC on Jan. 25, 2011, by Governor Jerry Brown. She had been an associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law since 2004. Previously, she served as undersecretary and senior policy advisor for housing with the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

Other confirmed Summit speakers include: Imperial Irrigation District General Manager Kevin Kelley; Robert Ramaekers, vice president for development of Tenaska; IID Board of Directors President John Pierre Menvielle; Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies Executive Director V. John White; and David E. Pearson, dean of San Diego State University – Imperial Valley Campus.





Summit also features an expo of vendors and developers, tours of the array of The renewable projects already generating energy or under construction and abundant networking opportunities.

“This is a dynamic industry and the Summit this year will focus on emerging issues and showcase the region’s importance in fulfilling California’s ambitious renewable energy goals,” said Rosa Maria Gonzales of the Imperial Irrigation District, who is chairing this year’s event.

Registration forms, sponsor information and booth registration are available at the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation website,

By Luke Phillips
This past weekend as Holtville held it’s biggest celebration of the year, the annual Carrot Festival, it also lost one of it’s greatest champions.
Those who knew former Holtville Tribune editor Quentin Burke, who died Sunday, say he will be remembered for his dedication to the city that he loved and the residents that he called friends, colleagues and family.
One of Burke’s best friends, Holtville City Treasurer Pete Mellinger, called him one of the city’s biggest supporters.
“He was always trying to do things for the community,” Mellinger said. “It’s hard to lose such a good friend.”
Mellinger says he met Burke in 1964, shortly after he came to Holtville to take over as the new editor of the Holtville Tribune, a position he would retain for nearly 30 years. Burke and Mellinger became friends after serving together on the Holtville Planning Commission and remained close friends until Burke’s death Sunday.
“We found out that we were mutually interested in a lot of things going on around the valley so we became very good friends,” Mellinger said.
According to Mellinger he and Burke shared a common interest in many topics including the local agricultural industry.
“He was interested in crops we grew here and how we grew them,” Mellinger said. “He was fascinated by the major changes happening in the harvesting of our vegetable crops here when things  where changing from hand harvesting to machine harvesting.”
Mellinger says Burke was interested in water issues in the valley from the very beginning and would take frequent trips to the desert, Imperial Dam and Yuma to see some of the infrastructure for himself.
“It was a hot topic,” Mellinger said. “We went through a period when water was becoming so valuable that all of the cities in the valley were after it. The L.A. water district was after our water and so was San Diego.”
Mellinger says Burke followed water issues until he died and would take trips to see the newly constructed reservoir built at the site of the old Brock Research Station on Interstate 8.
Burke also had an interest in the author Harold Belll Wright and his book The Winning of Barbara Worth which took place in a fictionalized version of the Imperial Valley and had much to do with the early struggles over water rights.
Mellinger says that Burke was one of the main people that helped set up the Harold Bell Wright Gallery at the Pioneers Museum and was also instrumental in obtaining an original manuscript of ‘The Winning of Barbara Worth’ that’s on display at the museum.
Burke was also an avid photographer and documented Holtville throughout the years by taking hundreds, if not thousands,  of photos of the city and its residents.
“He was always taking pictures,” Mellinger said. “He’d take pictures of anything he see and everything he saw.”
Burke also organized a photography group that would take trips to the Rocky Mountain states once a year to photograph the wilderness.
“He was very active in pursuing his interest in photography,” Mellinger said.
Besides collecting photos, Mellinger says that Burke had also been amassing research on Holtville for a book that he planned to write on the town’s history. Unfortunately, Mellinger says that Burke was never able to begin work on the book.
“When he retired he had time to do some of the things that he wanted to do his whole life, but he was so active right up until the end that he didn’t have time to achieve much of what he wanted to do.”
Among other things Burke was also very active in The Friends of The Holtville Library, the Episcopal Church and the Holtville Unified School District’s Foreign Exchange program. He was also a member of the board that first put in place Holtville’s utility tax which Mellinger says has allowed the city to flourish.
“He was an active member when we passed the utility tax and he was still active on the committee to retain it here last year.”

Presale tickets and family value packs are now on sale throughout the Valley for the 2012 California Mid-Winter Fair, which kicks off March 2 with a theme of “Tropical Nights and Carnival Delights.”
They are available at Sonic Burger in El Centro and Calexico; Goyal’s Shell, Brawley; the fair box office and all Rabobank locations in the Valley. Family Value Packs are available at the Mall and the fair box office.
There are several different ways to buy presale fair tickets. The $56 Family Value Packs, a package that consists of two adult and two children’s fair tickets as well as food coupons and 2 carnival WOW wristband coupons, are on sale at the Imperial Valley Mall and fair box office. The actual value of the package is more than $160.
Additionally, Individual presale tickets ($6 adult, $4 child 6-12 and $5 senior 60+) as well as $18 carnival WOW coupons redeemable for carnival wristbands are currently on sale.  All presales, which are savings of up to 25 percent off regular ticket purchase prices and up to 40 percent off carnival coupons, will end March 1.
In addition to the concerts, displays and competitive activities throughout the 10 day run, the year’s fair will feature an expanded carnival and a special “Tropical Wildlife Adventure” in the Preble Building. 

By Luke Phillips
For the past few months the subject of animal control has become a hot topic around Holtville. The city has an obvious problem with lose dogs roaming the city and feral cats multiplying at dizzying rates.
So after much talk city officials have decided to have one of their Public Works employees trained as an Animal Control Officer and put on half-time animal control duties. The city says they can’t afford a full-time animal control officer so I suppose this is a good compromise, but the city needs to hurry up and put their plan into action.
You may not realize it, but just last month a young child was attacked and injured by a loose dog right here in Holtville. My friend and local Holtville resident Kenny Riggs told me about how his son Brian was recently attacked by a black Labrador while trying to do a good deed.
The Riggs family had been asked by a neighbor to keep an eye out for their missing Pug that had escaped from the yard. They spotted the missing pooch while driving down fourth street one day and Brian jumped out of the truck to retrieve the dog. That’s when the Lab came out of no where and bit Brian in the lower back.
“It just went after him,” Riggs said.
Brian spent the next 8 ½ hours waiting for treatment at the hospital and Riggs says the wound had scabbed over by the time they got to see a doctor and had to be painfully scrubbed to prevent infection. He says the bite left a full upper jaw print on Brian’s back.
Riggs says he doesn’t blame the owner of the dog and said they felt really bad about the incident. Instead, Riggs says he blames the city’s lack of an Animal Control Officer and unwillingness to ticket the owner’s of animals that let their dogs run loose.
“The city needs an animal control officer,” Riggs said. “You can talk to just about anybody in town and they’re going to agree with that.”
Riggs also says that the city should be more aggressive about enforcing animal control ordinances.
“When you find out who the owners are you got to get after them,” he said.
The incident is the perfect example of why the city needs to put the training of an Animal Control Officer on the fast track. I recently asked Holtville City Manager Alex Meyerhoff where the city was at on the project, which was approved more than two weeks ago, and he told me that they are currently researching three different options for training. Alex also couldn’t tell me how long it might take before our new Animal Control Officer might be on duty. I sure hope it’s soon. Brian managed to escape with relatively minor injuries, but it’s just a matter of time before something much more tragic happens if the city doesn’t address this problem soon.

Quentin Burke, publisher, journalist, photographer, entrepreneur and world traveler, died at his home in Holtville on Saturday, February 11. Although the immediate cause of death was not known, he had been struggling with a cardiac condition for many years.

 Mr. Burke was the editor and publisher of the Holtville Tribune and owner of its associated printing business for 26 years from 1964 to 1990. During his tenure, the Tribune was honored five times by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. In addition, he ran the Quellen Company, which specialized in book publishing and photography-related projects.

 Quentin Burke was born June 7, 1928, in Sydney, Australia, to Keast and Iris Burke. He was educated at local schools including Sydney’s Church of England Grammar School. A strong student, he earned his undergraduate degree from University of Sydney (B.A. in Philosophy and Educational Psychology) in 1949 at the age of 18, when most of his peers were just finishing secondary school. His diverse work experience in Australia included stints as railroad car janitor, “printer’s devil,” and assistant editor of a pharmaceutical trade magazine. He also found time for outdoor activities, including orienteering and spelunking, and in one famous incident, an extra-legal traversal of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

In 1951, he left Australia for seven years of travel and work abroad. He began as a galley boy on the tramp steamer S. S. Katrina, which carried him through the Pacific and to ports throughout Europe. After living, working and studying in England for part of 1952, he traveled to Scandinavia and Iceland, working at a variety of occupations including wine cellarman at the Stockholm Sweden Hotel. In 1954, Mr. Burke emigrated to Canada, and held a variety of jobs in the newspaper and publishing industries. Travel and outdoor activities remained his passions, including hiking, canoeing and skiing, and he spent most of 1955 on a trek through South and Central America, going overland as far as Buenos Aires.

Mr. Burke wed Ellen Isabelle Ingham on May 25, 1957 in Toronto. His bride shared his love of adventure: in 1958, the couple embarked on a seven-month trip from Toronto to Australia, traveling most of the distance in a modified Volkswagen Beetle. Embarking at Wales, the couple traveled through England and Scandinavia, traversed the European mainland, and drove on through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, a voyage unthinkable in today’s more turbulent political climate. They traveled by boat across the Bay of Bengal to Penang, Malaysia and then from Singapore to Perth, Australia. From there, they continued across the Nullabor Plain to Melbourne, celebrating Christmas with family there in 1958.

On his return to Australia, Mr. Burke worked as a journalist for TV Times magazine. His daughter Victoria was born in Brisbane, Australia in March 1961. The Burke family emigrated to the United States in 1963, arriving on the S. S. Mariposa at San Francisco, California. While working as a proofreader for the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Burke continued to contribute freelance journalism to the TV Times, including interviews with Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Laurence Welk  and Mister Ed the talking horse, among others. His son Robin was born in March 1964 in San Francisco.

Late in 1964, the Burkes purchased the Holtville Tribune and its associated printing business. In an operation that had only a handful of employees, Mr. Burke wore many different hats: journalist, photographer, editor, publisher, darkroom technician, graphic designer, and salesman, not to mention handyman and janitor. Computer repairman was added to the list when the Tribune became an early adopter of computerized typesetting, the forerunner of today’s desktop publishing.

In addition to producing its weekly newspaper, Mr. Burke served Holtville in many civic capacities. He advised the Holtville High Saga school newspaper and served on the Imperial County Vocational Committee for the Graphic Arts. He was also a long-time member of Holtville’s Planning Commission. His position as local journalist meant that he was witness to much of Holtville’s public life: he once said that he had “attended more City Council meetings than any mayor, and watched more Holtville High football games than any coach.” Given their travels, it is not surprising that both Quentin and Ellen Burke were very active in the American Field Service foreign exchange program, serving as area representatives for the Imperial Valley region.

An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Burke enjoyed backpacking and hiking throughout his life, especially in the southwest. One highlight was a raft trip down the Colorado River in 1968. He was an active member of the Natural Arch and Bridge Society, and a frequent participant in bridge hunting trips in Arizona and southern Utah.

His interest in photography was life-long, but took off particularly when he became an enthusiast for 3-D (stereo) photography. He invented a folding mount for holding stereo photos: the Q-Vu, and ran a small business selling mounts and other stereo photo equipment. His stereo photos, especially of the desert southwest, won awards at annual conventions of the National Stereoscopic Association. His photographic work was also displayed at the Imperial Valley Pioneer Museum.

Mr. Burke was a publisher for several reprinted books, including The Jeep Bible by Granville King and a special edition of The Winning of Barbara Worth by Harold Bell Wright. He worked to keep the Wright legacy alive in the Valley, founding and running the Harold Bell Wright Society.

Mr. Burke is survived by his sister Sandra Pigott of West Australia, and brothers Kerras Burke of Melbourne, Australia, and Julian Burke of Sydney, Australia, and by his wife Ellen of Holtville, and children Robin Burke and his wife Roshanna Sylvester of Evanston, Illinois, and Victoria Burke and her husband Paul Raymont of Toronto, Canada. There are two grandchildren, Ian Burke and Lily Sylvester, both of Evanston.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 18 at 11:00 am at St. Peter and Paul’s Episcopal Church in El Centro.


By Luke Phillips

CARROT FESTIVAL QUEEN MICHAELA HERNANDEZ reigns over the festivities this weekend in Holtville. She was crowned at a gala event Friday evening, Feb. 1st at the Barbara Worth Country Club. The Big Parade will take place Saturday along Fifth Street with a gigantic arts & crafts show to follow. Jim Predmore photo.

The 65th Annual Holtville Carrot Festival kicked off Friday with the traditional Holtville Chamber of Commerce Banquet at Barbara Worth Resort.
This year’s event began on a somber note, with Chamber of Commerce President Laura Goodsell asking for a moment of silence for two young Holtville residents who passed away in the week before the banquet, Clint Snyder and Philip Vessey.
“We are a hugely tight-knit community and it’s like we’ve all lost a member of our family,” Goodsell said before moving on with the ceremony.
“Tonight we’re here to celebrate what’s great about our community,” she said. “There truly is no place like home and each one of you is a testament to that.”
Goodsell also recognized several local dignitaries in attendance including the 2011 Carrot Queen and her court, Mayor Jerry Brittsan, City Council member David Bradshaw, City Manager Alex Meyerhoff, City Attorney Steve Walker, Planning Commissioner Jim Predmore, Police Chief Gordon Johnson, Fire Chief Alex Silva, District 5 Supervisor Ray Castillo and El Centro City Council member Cheryl Walker.
Goodsell also lauded the efforts of Chamber of Commerce employees Dana Gularte and Mary Hellen Dollente.
“They’re the ones who make all of this possible,” she said.
This year’s Carrot Festival Grand Marshall Marv Wood was introduced and told the crowd that it was “a privilege to be among such fine residents.”
“I’m very grateful to have the distinction of representing the city,” Wood said.
Wood said that he was especially proud to serve as the Grand Marshall for the 65th Carrot Festival because he first moved to Holtville with his mother in 1947, the year of the very first Carrot Fest.
“The theme also seems very fitting,” Wood said in reference to this year’s festival theme ‘There’s No Place Like Home’. “I graduated Holtville High School in 1958 and began a journey that would ultimately bring me back to Holtville. This is where my hopes and dreams were formed and I’m happy to be giving something back to the school and the community that supported that. Taking pride in our community is something that we don’t ever want to take for granted or take lightly.”
Ron and Joan Thornburg were then presented as the 2011 Holtville Citizens of the Year, with judges citing their extensive involvement in the local education system and community organizations. The Thornburgs spent many years as educators in the Holtville school system, collective working at every school site in the district. Joan also served on the school district Board of Trustees after her retirement from teaching as well as serving as president of the Holtville Women’s Club for the past four years and singing with the Imperial Valley Master Choral. The Thornburgs are also know for opening their home and swimming pool to local youngsters for use during end-of-the-year parties.
Several girls competed for three different crowns in the Carrot Festival Royal Court. Michaela Hernandez, the granddaughter of District 5 County Supervisor Ray Castillo, won out over Holtville newcomer Sarah Shellabarger who recently moved to town from Imperial.
Seventh grader Emily Acosta beat out five other contenders to take home the Carrot Princess crown including runners up Alyssa Moreno, Jelisa Vargas, Haley Toth, Yvette Margarita Rios and Jennifer Schwer.
Brooke Butler Took the title of Junior Princess, beating out Macy Birdsall, Ruby Castro and McKenzie Toth.
Each title was awarded based on the amount of raffle tickets each girl sold to members of the community.

Imperial County Workforce Development Board Workshop for job seekers entitled “Getting a Job Is a Job” Start your Journey here.


On Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:30 am – 12:00 pm, the Holtville Meyer Memorial Branch of the Imperial County Free Library will host a workshop  for job seekers  entitled “Getting a Job Is a Job” Start your Journey here…


 The workshop is presented by Manpower and funded by the Workforce Development Board.


The workshop is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Call1-760-356-2385 to register


The Holtville Meyer Memorial Branch of the Imperial County Free Library is located at 101 East 6th Street, in the Holtville, California, 90050.


“Getting a Job Is a Job” Start your Journey here… Workshop presented by Manpower Funded by the Workforce Development Board


Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:30 am – 12:00 pm The Holtville Meyer Memorial Branch of the Imperial County Free Library 101 East 6th Street Holtville


 Call 1-760-356-2385 to register




“The Imperial County Rabies Vaccination Clinic will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2012, from 10:00am to 11:00am at the Holtville Public Works Yard at 222 W. Fourth Street, in Holtville. Rabies Vaccinations are $11.00 (Altered Dogs) and $16.00 (Unaltered Dogs).  For information please call Imperial County Animal Control at 760-339-6291, o visit the website at “




Holtville Chamber of Commerce, 101 w. 5th St., Holtville, CA  92250 (760)356-2923 FAX (760)356-2925


Friday, February 3, 2012                   

6:30 p.m.: Annual Chamber Of Commerce Banquet:

Featuring award of Citizen of the Year honors, and crowning of the 2012 Carrot Festival Queen, Princess and Junior Princess.  6:30 – 7:00 p.m.: No-Host Cocktails. 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Dinner.  8:00 – 9:00 p.m.: Ceremonies at Barbara Worth Resort.   Tickets are $25.00 per person.

               Saturday, February 4, 2012

5:00 p.m.:  3rd Annual Music Fest:

Hot Rods & Beer.  Bands & Food .

                                          Sunday, February 5, 2012

11:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m. Holtville Rotary Club’s “No Bones About It BBQ”

Get your BBQ plates for Super Bowl! Holt Park; $10.00 per plate

 Monday, February 6, 2012

6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

Little Chef and Junior Chef/Miscellaneous Division.  Youngsters are invited to try their hand at cooking with carrots.  At the Civic Center.  Cooking Contest sponsored by Soroptimist Club.

 6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

Middle School and High School Divisions.  At the Civic Center.       

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

Adult Salad, Vegetable and Main Dish Division. At the Civic Center.                   

 Wednesday, February 8, 2012

6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

Adult Chef  Breads, Desserts and Appetizer Divisions.  At the Civic Center.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

3:00 & 6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

3:00 p.m. Senior Chef/Miscellaneous 6:00 p.m. Open Chef/Energy Saving and International Cuisine.  At Civic the Center.

3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Midway Carnival on Holt & 6th St.

Friday, February 10, 2012

3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Midway Carnival on Holt & 6th St.

6:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Cookery Contest

Sweepstakes Finals cook-off.  At the Civic Center.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Carrot Festival Mile & 5 K Races

Applications available in the Chamber office.

9:00 a.m. till dusk: Arts and Crafts Fair

Craft, food and other booths in Holt Park.                                                                   

10:00 a.m.: Carrot Festival Parade

Featuring school children, bands, floats, antique cars and tractors, equestrians, Citizen of the Year, 2012 Festival Queen, Princess, Junior Princess and runner-ups .  The route is west on Fifth Street from Maple to Cedar.

11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Student Art Show

Open during the day at the Civic Center.

1:00 (approximate): Trophy Presentation

Parade honors awarded at Gazebo in Holt Park.

12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.  Antique Tractor and Car Show

Classic cars and antique tractors on Holt Ave.

12:00 noon to 11:00 p.m.: Carrot Festival Midway Carnival on Holt & 6th St.

1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.:  Entertainment in the Gazebo.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

11:00am – Until food runs out:   Dia de la Familia Cook-off Competition.

                  1st place $1000; 2nd place $500 and 3rd place $250.00 in Holt Park.  Entry forms                         available at the Chamber office. 

9:00 a.m. till dusk: Arts and Crafts Fair

Arts & Craft booths in Holt Park & Pine Ave.

9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Entertainment  in the Gazebo.

Carrot Festival Midway Carnival on Holt & 6th St begins at 11:00 am.

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