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Local News December 9, 2004


Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club

Welcomes Olympic Silver Medalist


His father, mother, and brother and sisters literally walked over 500 miles avoiding hostile soldiers and the elements to cross over from their home in Eritrea, Africa, to the Sudan, always having to be on the lookout for wild animals and land mines as well.


Today he doesn’t walk, he runs.


Oh, how he runs!


Meb Keflezighi, originally from Eritrea, Africa, with his Olympic Silver Meda


The “he” is Meb Keflezighi, one of two guest speakers welcomed by the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido.  Former Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club secretary and president, Kevin Camperell, an Escondido CPA, introduced two outstanding speakers at a recent club meeting.


Antonio Arce, an accountant working in the Escondido office of Grice, Lund and Tarkington with Camperell, spoke first.  Antonio has an MBA from Notre Dame and was captain of the Notre Dame cross country team in South Bend, Indiana.

Antonio spoke of the commitment level necessary to compete (scholastically and athletically) at a prestigious Division I university. He not only represented Notre Dame for four years in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track seasons but competed for the United States in the World Junior Cross Country championships held in South Africa. Antonio is a middle distance runner. Antonio shared the time commitment necessary to graduate on time while competing. He discussed how difficult it was to be traveling to meets and taking finals at the same time.

Meb Keflezighi was the silver medal winner at the 2004 Olympics in Athens in the marathon. Meb shared his emotional story of being born in Eritrea, Africa, and living through age 10 in a third world country. He shared how he was shipped off to Italy to live in a facility run by Catholic nuns. After a few years of trying to leave Italy, the Red Cross enabled them to immigrate to the USA under political asylum.



From l-r, Kevin Camperell, President Nick Ponce, Meb Keflezighi

and Antonio Arce - at a recent meeting of the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido



Meb then shared his history as a world class track athlete. Meb first found this "gift from God" in the 7th grade upon arriving in America. He spoke no English and during P.E. at his San Diego junior high school he ran a 5:20 mile. He described his disappointment at the Sydney Olympics.  He had come down with the flu, was weakened and unable to finish anywhere near his goals.  Undeterred, he continued to practice for the 2004 Olymics.  He shared some of his training secrets and discussed the importance of desire, drive and discipline.


Meb explained that he plans to run in the 2008 Olympics.


California’s Illegal Immigration Costs

estimated at nearly $9 Billion


There are nearly 3 million illegal immigrants in California and the cost runs to nearly $9 billion each year.  This information from a new report was released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based group that promotes stricter immigration policies.


An estimated $7.7 billion, the single largest expense, is spent educating the children of illegal immigrants each year, according to the report. Medical care for illegal immigrants and incarceration of those who have committed crimes are the next two largest expenses measured in the study, the author said.


The author, Jack Martin, said the $9 billion figure does not include other expenses that are difficult to measure, such as special English instruction, school lunch programs, and welfare benefits for American workers displaced by illegal immigrant workers.


The federation is one of the nation's leading lobbying groups aimed at curbing immigration into the country.


More than two-thirds of the estimated 340,000 agriculture workers in California are noncitizens, most of whom are believed to be illegal immigrants, according to a 1998 study on farmworkers prepared for the state Legislature.


Local farmers say migrant farmworkers are critical to their businesses, and without them they would have to close their farms or move their operations overseas.


Martin's study looks specifically at the costs of educating illegal immigrants' children, providing medical care to illegal immigrants and jailing those convicted of committing crimes. The report estimates the total cost at $10.5 billion each year, but that is offset by about $1.7 billion in taxes that illegal immigrants pay.  The federation's full report is at:


Escondido’s Annual Christmas Parade


This Saturday Escondido will launch it’s 54th annual Christmas Parade which will start at 9:30am at Escondido High School and head south on Broadway to Grape Day Park at Woodward Avenue.


Police are requesting holiday shoppers and other motorists to plan on alternate routes during the parade, which is expected to last almost four hours.


Starting at 8:30am all traffic will be blocked on Broadway from Stanley Avenue, north of Escondido High School, and south along the route to Valley Parkway.  All intersections along that route will also be blocked, police said.


New Palomar Governing Board Seated


Two incumbents and one new member of the board of directors on the Palomar College Governing Board were seated recently.


Incumbents Nancy Chadwick and Darrell McMullen returned to their seats and  and newly-elected trustee Ruth Larson were sworn in for new terms.


The first course of action taken was to adjourn to closed session for discussions as to candidates for the vacant position of president of Palomar College. There were two finalists to be interviewed and the board’s decision is expected sometime  next week.


The two presidential candidates are Robert Deegan, currently vice president of student services at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, and Richard Jarvis, former chancellor of Oregon's university system.


Both candidates were the unanimous choice of Palomar's 18-member presidential search committee.


Mold A Problem in San Marcos Schools?


Respiratory distress for a student a Paloma Elementary School in San Marcos has led school officials to launch an investigation as to whether mold might be the culprit.


While only one student was complaining, other students and teachers had not had any difficulty, the maintenance and operations department for the San Marcos Unified School District kept casting about for something else it could do.


This effort was made because officials recall an earlier episode where a half-dozen cases of pneumonia in one classroom and complaints of respiratory illness among teachers in other classrooms led to a complete cleaning of the school.  The chief suspect?  Mold.  This was at Alvin Dunn Elementary School. 


At Paloma school, so far, reports are that the air smells cleaner, but the complaining student and parent claim there has been no improvement.  The research continues.