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Weekly Rewind: Sandstorm deaths, Mysteries of Territorial Prison, Spotlight on Holtville Vikings

Catch up with some of this week's hottest topics

DESERT SOUTHWEST (KYMA, KECY) - Monsoon season has been raining havoc across the U.S. recently. More closer to home, a Yuma family was caught in a Utah sandstorm which caused 20 vehicles to crash along Interstate 15 (I-15), claiming eight lives.

It all began Sunday when the Valentine Family was on their way home from a reunion. While traveling through Milliard County on I-15, they found themselves amidst a sandstorm limiting visibility on the road.

Courtesy Valentine Family

Unfortunately, Camren Valentine was one of those eight whom lost their lives that day.

The family's main breadwinner, Sheree Valentine, now has limited movement due to injuries just above her right elbow. The sandstorm disaster wrecked their entire vehicle, plus the camp trailer with everything in it.

Seeing that Sheree is now unable to work and in a completely different state, close family has started a GoFundMe to help with medical bills, flight costs and funeral proceedings. If you would like make a donation, click here.

We hope all the best for the Valentine family. May full healing and peace come their way.

As we're being hopeful, we can also take inspiration from the Holtville Vikings softball team.

They smashed their way through the playoff bracket outscoring their opponents 23-2, including a forfeit. In the championship game, the young ladies won 13-7, claiming their first CIF Division Championship since 1998.

What was normally the pinnacle and end of the softball season, now had an interesting twist. The CIF offered an opt in state tournament opportunity.

The outcome wasn't what Holtville had dreamt it would be. Holtville led 3-2 heading into the top of the fifth inning. Highland came through with two out hits to take a 4-3 lead. Holtville had chances to tie the game late but couldn't get the timely hits. Highland won 4-3.

However, the Vikings did not fall short. They achieved their goal, and then went above and beyond what they were asked to do.

Holtville now see's themselves as a power in the Imperial Valley and the state of California.

When you think of imprisonment- innovation and education don't usually come to mind. But for the Yuma Territorial Prison built in 1876, that's exactly what many prisoners experienced.

If you could not read and write, by the time your sentence was up, you would've left with the skills to do so. Only eight years after opening, it was the first building in Yuma to have the luxury of electricity installed.

This was during a time when tuberculosis was a major health scare, and inmates were sleeping six to a tiny cell. Over 30 years, 111 prisoners died mostly from tuberculosis.

The prison's cemetery sits just across the building. It’s the final resting place of those 111 inmates. Not only that, it's considered one of the most haunted places in all of Arizona.

Its unique location is situated between two great barriers, the Sonoran Desert and the Colorado River. Still, many tried to escape. Stop by next time you're in the area; and you just might see something spooky.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Imperial and Yuma Counties respectively have populations of about 180,000 and 214,000 people.

With regard to those figures, 14.8% of Imperialites have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, while 17.6% of Yumans on average tested positive for COVID-19.

Both California and Arizona continue to hit vaccination milestones. Over 44 million vaccines have been administered in the Golden State. Whereas, Arizona nears 6.9 million coronavirus vaccinations.

News / State & Regional News / Video
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Caleb J. Fernández

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Please reach out via email at if you’re interested in collaborating.

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