Imperial Valley Stories

Armed bandits target migrants in Imperial Valley

Firefight erupts between rival robbers

Armed attackers are taking aim at migrants crossing the border illegally near Ocotillo, according to a February 26 report from the U.S. Border Patrol. Ocotillo is located just east of San Diego County at the ...

San Diego's Salton Sea plan might get expensive

Audit warns of air pollution and other problems

San Diego's deal to take water from the Imperial Valley to meet the demands of growth and development here will begin taking a dramatic and expensive toll on the environment of the Salton Sea in ...

Two truckloads of pot caught headed south toward Mexican border

Perhaps they knew U.S. agents were after them

U.S. Border Patrol agents earlier this week seized nearly a ton of marijuana from two vehicles that were apparently heading south toward the Mexican border. Around 12:30 Sunday morning October 13, camera operators scanning the ...

How the Imperial Valley solar panel land looks from the air

Already disturbed, low productivity

My friend Richard Bailey, grandson of Julian's founder Drury Bailey, brought my attention to a construction project west of Calexico which sounded amazing. With my photographer Pam Wilmers, we struck out on Wednesday, April 3, ...

Bonanza of bands

Desert Daze Music and Art Festival returns as a one-day camping jamboree near Desert Hot Springs, on the same weekend as Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

Windmills of Change in Ocotillo

Many readers have probably driven out to SR-2 just north of Ocotillo and taken Dos Cabezas Road to its western terminus in order to hike Goat Canyon and see the wood railroad trestles and tunnels ...

Shades of Sweetwater at Calexico Unified School District

As the San Diego County grand jury opens an investigation this week into allegations of corruption in the Sweetwater Union High School District, new intrigues play out in Calexico with Sweetwater’s former attorney firm, GCR, ...

Restraining Order Non-Starter, Ocotillo Windmill Project to Continue

U.S. District Court judge William Hayes dismissed a request for a restraining order against the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project late last week. He found that the plaintiffs, CARES (Community Advocates for Renewable Energy Stewardship) ...

More Desert Damage from Ocotillo Wind Energy Project?

On September 6, this photo was taken by Pam Wilmers in a private aircraft 5000 feet above a chain of sites carved into BLM land at the west end of Ocotillo Valley as part of ...

Wind Project’s Heavy Equipment Damages Desert

On August 28, Parke Ewing, an Ocotillo resident, took photos of heavy equipment being operated by Pattern Energy employees who are building the Ocotillo Wind Express Energy Project. The machinery is plowing over and crushing ...

Ocotillo Wind Energy Project Advances

On Thursday morning, August 23, Parke Ewing, a resident of Ocotillo, took this photo of the erection of the first of 112 towers for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project. Heavy equipment, such as a ...

First Tower Arrives for Ocotillo Wind Energy Project

On August 16 at 8 a.m., the first of 111 towers for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Project arrived via trucks passing through the small community of Ocotillo. Traffic was halted as the trucks had to ...

Wind-Turbine Project Creating Flooding Problems?

I flew over Ocotillo on July 17 to check out reports that recent construction roads and footings for the planned 100-plus wind-turbine towers had adversely affected the natural drainage for the village. Last Thursday, July ...

Windmill Project Begins, Opponents Don’t Stop

Photo taken over Ocotillo at 9 a.m. on June 29. Construction has begun on over 100 turbine towers, each over 400 feet tall, on Bureau of Land Management land between the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park ...

Could Imperial Valley Become Owens Valley?

Political and drought conditions could turn the Imperial Valley into another Owens Valley.

Group Gathers in Desert to Address Windmill Problems

Eighteen concerned citizens gathered on Saturday, February 25, in the desert three miles east of Ocotillo; they expressed their concerns about a proposed windmill farm on Bureau of Land Management range surrounding their town. The ...

Top View of Imperial Valley Geothermal Plant

I flew over the Hudson Ranch geothermal project (just southeast of the shore of the Salton Sea) on April 23. Richard Bailey, grandson of the founder of Julian, took this photo at 800 feet above ...

Can Imperial County Come Back From the Dust?

Driving west on I-8, down from the dry, rugged mountains, diving into what should be a desert landscape 100 miles east of San Diego, the Imperial Valley appears as an agricultural oasis. Miles of irrigated ...

Still Shaken

Though not on the front page of the news anymore, aftershocks subsequent to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred on April 4 in the Imperial Valley continue. A 4.9 quake shook as recently as May ...

The Anti-Coachella Fest?

Slab City lies at the southeast corner of the Salton Sea, where the Anza-Borrego Desert becomes the Colorado Desert. The “slabs” are what’s left from WWII training facility Camp Dunlop. And there’s an Olympic-sized swimming ...

Sad Stats

"For us, business is good,” says Barry Lander, clerk of the bankruptcy court. “It’s a sad thing.” Indeed it is. The courts, judges, clerks, and the legal profession have been blown good business in San ...

Will These Keep the Lights On?

Sunrise Powerlink — a chess game for the big guys

The Sunrise Powerlink gleamed for the first time in Sempra Energy’s eye on November 1, 2002. At the company’s San Diego headquarters, an energy-management expert from Shell Trading gave a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the potential ...

Dust Bowl Coming?

“The wet 20th century, the wettest of the past millennium, the century when Americans built an incredible civilization in the desert, is over,” says a superb article in February’s National Geographic. The piece, entitled “Drying ...

Hike to the rock house in Rockhouse Canyon, near Anza-Borrego's Bow Willow Campground.

A simple shack fashioned of rock, cement, and corrugated metal might be unremarkable anywhere else, but in the midst of thousands of acres of wild desert, it becomes a significant point of interest. The semi-rugged ...

Figs in Our Future

Few fruits evoke the sunny blue skies of the Mediterranean and the balmy days of September quite so poignantly as the fig, but local farmers and advanced agricultural science may be turning that image inside ...

Big Game Guide

Regard, I have happened upon our Department of Fish and Game Licensed Big Game Guides Web page. I envision a Great Hunter, right boot placed on a dead beast's ribs, Italian shooter shirt opened at ...

You Could Hear a Pin Drop At Night!

A proposition for Salton Sea and its far ripples.

I've flown over the Salton Sea many times. From the air, it doesn't look real. The blue expanse and the green fields of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys that butt up against the sea's northern ...

San Diego Drowns In Own Hubris

Flexing its muscles, working in secret, and stifling dissent, San Diego in the early to mid-1990s tried to assert water independence. It got hosed. The San Diego County Water Authority wound up paying 50 percent ...

Board Up and Go

EMS pilots tell their stories.

"It was my first training flight with Mercy Air," says J.P. Wilson, a large, white-haired man. "I had gone through the ground school, and I was scheduled to fly with Jeff Emery. I got here ...

Hive Mentality

Beekeeping runs in families.

I love honey. I love honey! Like the bears. All day long my coffee has honey instead of sugar. My cereal has honey. My toast, honey on it. Always honey." David Rojas of San Marcos ...

Inventor Tackles Salton Sea Disaster

How it works is an industrial secret, say the founders of Aqua Genesis LLC, a San Diego company that intends to clean up the Salton Sea and in the process make thousands of acre-feet (one ...

Best of 2003: Best Scary Weekend Getaway

Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area, Imperial County 760-337-4400 San Diegans have visited this remarkable stretch of desert for decades. On weekends between October and May, tens of thousands of off-road enthusiasts thunder across these barren ...

Sandy Valley Showdown

Perhaps because it started as Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio and still reports to shareholders as an insurance business, PICO Holdings of La Jolla doesn't like to answer questions about water-resources development. The firm refers ...

Best of 2001: Best Seaside Property Values

Desert Shores, off Highway 86, Imperial County Diversified Realty and Investments 800-385-1040 Let's compare: size of Pacific Ocean: 69,000,000 square miles. Price of houses overlooking Pacific Ocean: humongous. Size of Salton Sea? 525 square miles. ...

Hunt for obsidian and view volcanic mud pots near the Salton Sea.

About as fast as toenails grow, the Imperial Valley continues to widen in an east-west direction. As fast as fingernails grow, Imperial Valley's west side shudders northwestward relative to territory farther east and north. The ...

If You Don't Run You Don't Get Hit

Have you ever seen the men standing outside Home Depot looking for work? The Spanish-speaking men in baseball hats who are brave enough, or desperate enough, to get into any car that pulls up? Men ...

Best of 2000: Best View Of The Salton Sea

Desert Tower In-Ko-Pah Park Road, five miles east of Jacumba (619) 766-4612 You get no idea of the vast size of the "Biggest Puddle in the West" -- the Salton Sea -- until you see ...

Peso parley

Privatization of the Tijuana airport may come as soon as next year, and that's causing a big stir among insiders at San Diego's city hall. Last week, a consortium of French, Spanish, and Dutch airport ...