Where the Sun Spends the Winter

My hometown … El Centro, California … county seat of Imperial County … incorporated in 1907 when local residents voted to secede from San Diego … and the last county to be formed in California.  My family came here from Hungary in 1903 to farm a 160-acre homestead in the northeastern sector.

The bulk of domestic winter produce is harvested in the Imperial Valley. El Centro is the center of a desert wasteland. Its lifeblood is water from the Colorado River which flooded in 1905 thus forming the Salton Sea — California’s largest inland body of water.

The Salton Sea is an important stopover for millions of migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway. The New River — one of North America’s most polluted waterways — flows across the border from Mexico into the sea. Every known pathogen, virus and bacteria has been detected in the New River. It’s an environmental catastrophe.

The city’s official slogan is … Where the Sun Spends the Winter. When the U.S. Navy Blue Angels were looking for a permanent home to conduct winter training the flight leader said, “Let’s go to El Centro”. They’ve been here ever since.

The Imperial Valley– though it is located in California — is part of the Greater Colorado desert.

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