50 years ago — Construction projects totaling $455,000 at Imperial Valley College get underway Oct. 2, when bidding for the projects opens, according to Terrel Spencer, college president.

Dr. Spencer said the construction actually involves three projects. The major job being undertaken is construction of an agricultural sciences and welding shop complex on the north side of the campus.

The agricultural building will include a plant science laboratory, and animal science laboratory and an agricultural mechanics shop, where practical suspects of the maintenance and repair of farm equipment will be taught.

The agricultural building will be 7,100 square feet, while the adjacent welding shop will be 2,000 square feet. Estimated cost for this project is $191,000.

The other two projects involve the college’s multi-purpose building, which, according to Dr. Spencer, was never actually completed due to a lack of funding.

An estimated $94,000 will be spent in the construction of additional men’s gym lockers and shower facilities. Dr. Spencer said the area of the building involved is presently being used as a storage room, but that gym lockers and showers were what the space was originally designed for.

The project will add about 130 additional gym lockers. Dr. Spencer noted this addition should enable every student to have an individual gym locker, at least for the next few years. In the past, gym lockers have been shared.


40 years ago — Three teenagers have been ordered to appear for preliminary hearing in Calexico Municipal Court Sept. 18 on charges of murder stemming from the shooting death of a Fresno man last weekend.

Arnold Urquijo Ochoa, Jose “Kojak” Dilan and Raul Garcia Escobedo, 18, were arraigned Wednesday on the murder charge filed by the district attorney’s office. All three are in custody on $250,000 bail.

Although the arraignment was handled in El Centro Municipal Court, Judge William Lehnhardt set the preliminary hearing in Calexico.

A fourth suspect in the shooting is a male juvenile, 16. He is reportedly being held at juvenile hall pending criminal proceedings in juvenile court.

Sources said attempts will be made to have the juvenile declared unfit. “This would allow us to try him as an adult,” a spokesman said.

All four are being prosecuted in connection with the shooting death of Victor Manuel Mendez, a Fresno welder. Mendez was shot to death Aug. 31 at the A&A gas station.

Police said Mendez suffered a single 25-caliber bullet wound in the chest. Death resulted from the bullet tearing the heart, according to the county coroner’s office.

Calexico patrolman Carl Monninger reported he found Mendez lying on his back, “gasping for air” Monninger and officer Mike Bielma performed emergency CPR when Mendez suddenly stopped breathing Mendez was then transported to Calexico Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Two young men who had been with the victim, Ernesto Castaneda, 16, and Frank Gomez, 16, both of Fresno, told police three men had approached Mendez and asked the visitors where they were from.

After Castaneda said Fresno, one of the subjects reportedly relied, “the south stands here, not the north,” Castaneda said one of the subjects then hit Gomez in the mouth and a fourth person then emerged from the shadows, walked up and calmly shot Mendez in the chest.

The four assailants fled in a vehicle later traced to Dilan, police are alleging.


20 years ago — Rafael Romo Muñoz, bishop of Tijuana, looked out of the vast desert Sunday, claiming those who have perished here in hopes of finding better lives are not forgotten.

Romo was speaking about the hundreds whose lives ended while trying to cross illegally into the Unites States. At the base of Mount Signal on the Mexican side of the border, dozens gathered with Romo at a sunrise Mass before embarking on a 12-mile journey in memory of illegal immigrants who died trying to cross the border.

The event was staged on Migrant Sunday, a holy day in Mexico, because the immigrant death toll has already surpassed last year’s numbers.

The event was organized by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, based in Oceanside, the American Friends Service Committee of San Diego and Albergue Jevenil del Desierto of Mexicali. Crosses were hammered into the ground along the 12-mile path and a memorial, made from empty water jugs, was hung on the fence at the downtown Calexico Port of Entry.

The rocky path walkers traveled began near the base of Mount Signal and continued eastward, parallel to the All-American Canal, which is just north of the U.S. border.

The canal, as many participants recalled throughout the morning, is where many people die trying to illegally enter into the United States. This year 22 of 29 migrant drownings have been in the canal.

With majestic Mount Signal in the background – the mountain still covered in purple shadows from the sunrise — Romo conducted Mass.

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