READER’S EDITORIAL: SHOULD EMPLOYERS BE ABLE TO EXCLUDE BIRTH CONTROL FROM HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE?
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
December 11, 2013 (San Diego)--The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners. Many people believe that health insurance is something offered by employers, a sort of bonus. In fact, it is part of what I have known as one’s “wage package.”
By Miriam Raftery
December 12,2013 (San Diego’s East County) –The City of San Diego has agreed to pay $60,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by Ray Lutz of El Cajon, a former Congressional candidate and founder of the watchdog nonprofit group Citizens Oversight.
Lutz was arrested for registering voters in front of the Civic Center Office Building in Civic Center plaza downtown during the Occupy San Diego movement on November 29, 2011. Chargers were later dropped and Lutz sued for battery and false arrest, among other charges, alleging that his Constitutional rights were violated.
In addition to $60,000 from the City of San Diego, Lutz will also reportedly receive an undisclosed settlement amount from the Civic Center Plaza building’s landlord and its security firm, since a security guard made a citizens’ arrest before police arrived. As part of the deal, Lutz’s arrest will be expunged from the record and Civic Center Plaza will agree to allow peaceful political activity on its property.
December 11, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) --ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:
- Budget deal is sealed (The Hill)
- Major tech companies want government to ease up on the spying (APM Marketplace)
- Wash. Judge Rules Towns Failed Poor Defendents (NPR)
- The Googlization of the Far Right: Why is Google Funding Grover Norquist, Heritage Action and ALEC? (PR Watch)
- NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show (Washington Post)
- Government pensions no longer sacred (UT San Diego)
- Obama, world leaders praise ‘giant of history’ at Mandela funeral (CNN)
- Mexico's dilemma: How do you safely transport radioactive cobalt? (CS Monitor)
- Stolen radioactive pellets abandoned in Mexico rural area; gov't says no risk to nearby town (AP)
- Researchers discover massive freshwater reserves beneath the oceans (Science Recorder)
- Insight - Fukushima water tanks: leaky and built with illegal labor (Reuters)
- Al-Qaida-claimed attack in Yemeni capital kills 52 (UT San Diego)
For excerpts and links to full stories, click "read more" and scroll down.
December 11, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:-
- San Diego Homeless Need Blankets, Jackets As Temperature Dips (KPBS)
- FDA: You can’t handle the truth (UT San Diego)
Ex-San Diego mayor sentenced for harassment (Sacramento Bee)
- Can Filner come back? Don't put it past him (UT San Diego)
- Filner's meds got disrupted, report says (UT San Diego)
- Local El Cajon musician working on project to support wounded veterans (EC Californian)
- California Offers Tax Relief On Short Sales Of Homes (KPBS)
- Court to consider California's DNA collection law (SacBee)
- Study: Calif. prison changes boost property crime (SacBee)
For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.
December 11, 2013 (Lakeside) -- Barona Resort & Casino has unveiled a charming gingerbread village called “Barona’s North Pole” which was cooked up by members of Barona’s award-winning culinary team. The village was the creation of Chef de Cuisine Erin DePompeo and Chef de Partie Ashley Rodney with help from Chef Jose Barajas.
Measuring 50 feet long, the gingerbread village welcomes guests to Barona’s bustling food court and entrance to the Season’s Fresh Buffet. The team spent more than 900 hours creating the winter wonderland on weekends and before and after their shifts.
East County educators among those testifying
By Jordan Schaffner
December 11, 2013 (San Diego)--Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (photo, left, with staff) held a public hearing on access to San Diego higher education on November 21st in San Diego. Highlights from the hearing included statements from educators at both private and public institutions, identifying needs to be met for local students.
Among the issues discussed including diversity, overcrowding, and a need for a new higher education campus in our region.
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) – It’s that time of the year, where critics groups from all around the world honor the year’s best movies. The New York Film Critics Circle kicked off awards season last week by voting David O. Russell’s upcoming film, American Hustle, their pick for 2013’s top film.
Review by The East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at 4800 Art Way (off El Cajon Boulevard near 63rd Street) in the SDSU College area has it all. A spacious sports bar with upscale and delicious food, specialty drinks, great local brews and excellent wines, Bridges is the perfect place for the East County Eater, who expects something special when dining out.
Open for just over a year, Bridges is named for the seven bridges across the San Francisco Bay and delivers on the promise of Bay Area quality dining. The restaurant is so-named because owner/CEO Salvatore hails from San Francisco and most of the seafood recipes come from that region. Palma has a vision of an upscale and friendly sports bar with a menu reminiscent of the Bay Area. Bridges is just a few blocks from SDSU, but the atmosphere is 500 miles away to the north where great dining, seafood and sports combine for an upscale metropolitan experience.
December 10, 2013 (Boulevard) – Clover Flat Elementary School in Boulevard, CA was awarded $5,000 from the Barona Education Grant Program this morning. Representatives from the Barona Band of Mission Indians and Assemblyman Brian Jones will be presented the grant to Clover Flat School, which is comprised of students from the Boulevard and Jacumba communities. The grant was written by Alpine resident, Donna Burton. Mrs. Burton is a second grade teacher and assistant principal at Clover Flat Elementary School in the Mountain Empire Unified School District.
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego State University Police are investigating an incident that took place in a parking structure at 5:00 AM on December 5. A man was parking his motorcycle when two male suspects allegedly ran toward him, one of them displaying a handgun. The victim saw the suspects coming toward him and drove away. The victim was not injured.
The first suspect is described as an African American male, unknown age, about 6 feet tall, dark curly neck length hair, clean shaven, wearing a grey short sleeved shirt, shorts, and armed with a dark colored handgun.
December 10, 2013 (Rancho San Diego)--It was his conquest over cancer the first time around and a changed perspective that led longtime mechanic Jake Konen to a new career teaching at Cuyamaca College.
Four years after he beat non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer has returned to wage another war, this time in the form of acute leukemia. And Konen (left, with family, before his illness) is determined to once again prevail.
December 10, 2013 (Otay) – Elected officials and business leaders from the U.S. and Mexico will hold a groundbreaking ceremony today on a new state highway project aimed at reducing border wait times and improving cross-border commerce. State Route 11 will be a four-lane highway connecting a planned port of entry, Otay Mesa East, to the state highway system.
The 2.5-mile project will be built in three segments. The $112 million Segment 1, starting construction now, will include connectors to SR 905, plus a stretch of new highway from SR 905 east to Enrico Fermi Drive. Segments planned for the future will extend the highway to the border and create a new border crossing.
Free workshops offered Dec. 14, Jan. 11 and Feb. 12
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) – Dr. Dee L. Fabry, Ph.D., author of On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness will offer three workshops to provide teachres and educators with practical, comprehensive knowledge on how to transform the classroom into a thriving, engaged and energetic learning environment. Workshops are offered on December 14, 2013, January 11 or February 8, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Participants can receive a certificate and two hours of professional development credit at the free seminar, which will be held at National University Spectrum Academic Center’s theater, 9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123. To register, click here. For full details and flyer, click here.
By Ariele Johannson
December 9, 2013 (Crest) -- The hilltop town of Crest east of El Cajon was destroyed by the Laguna Fire in 1970, and again in the 2003 Cedar Fire, when over 300 homes were burned to the ground. There are 2,593 souls living in Crest in 967 households. Residents met in the Crest Community Center on November 20 to discuss fire prevention, evacuation concerns, and the state fire fee assessed again this year.
East County Rep also calls Middle Easterners liars, draws fire for remarks
By Miriam Raftery
December 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated 8:40 p.m. – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has long been known as a hawk on military matters. But in an interview on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this week, the former Marine went further, voicing support for use of "tactical nuclear devices" if the U.S. launches an air strike against Iran. He backed use of tactical, or non-strategic nuclear weapons to set Iran's reported effort at developing a nuclear weapon "back a decade, or two or three."
Hunter, whose San Diego region district includes over 80,000 Middle Eastern immigrants, also ignited controversy when he stated,”In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes. That includes lying.” (View video of full interview.)
By Miriam Raftery
December 7, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- A winter storm sweeping across East County has brought snow down to 4700 feet as of Saturday afternoon, with forecasts for two inches of snow down to 3500 tonight and flurries at lower elevations. Sunrise Highway at Old Highway 80 is currently blocked by boulders/large rocks and other crashes are reported on I-8 near Dunbar Lane in Alpine and on Highway 94 near Dulzura.
Icy rain is occurring as of 4:30 p.m. in Alpine and fog is reported from Alpine to Buckman Springs. High winds are also hitting East County, with gusts up to 72 mph reported at Julian's Volcan Mountain. If driving in the mountains, carry chains, extra clothing and food. Icy roads are likely tonight in mountains and even on Interstate 8, so motorists are advised to use caution.
December 7, 2013 (Alpine) – On December 11th at 6 p.m., the curtain will rise at the Viejas Dreamcatchers Lounge to reveal results of this year’s Viejas Holiday Toy Drive. The goal is to bring in donations of 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for East County families in need.
The Viejas band of the Kumeyaay Indians joins in the 39th annual East County Toy Drive to support Stoney’s Kids and Salvation Army of East County.
By Nadin Abbott
December 5, 2013 (San Diego and Bonita)—Fast food workers in more than 100 cities went out on strike today, calling on employers to pay living wages. Locally, strikes were held in Bonita and in downtown San Diego.
Raquel Neri told ECM that she has been working for Wendy’s for 10 years. After a decade, she is paid $9.55 an hour. “I work 24 hours a week,” she said. She also has to pay all her costs, including rent, food and transportation costs--while she raises seven children.
December 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A wide variety of musical concerts are coming up in the Grossmont Union High School District during December, from madrigals to a jazz band, guitar and orchestral performances, and even a dance concert. For a complete list of shows, scroll down.
HOLIDAY SEASON KICKS OFF WITH TREE LIGHTING AND FREE ICE SKATING PERFORMANCE AT VIEJAS OUTLETS DEC. 7
December 6, 2013 (Alpine) – Viejas Outlets officially kicks off the holiday season this weekend with the lighting of one of Southern California’s largest trees and a free ice skating performance by regional, national and international ice skating competitors.
A massive 60-foot holiday tree will be illuminated at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at the Viejas Outlets ice rink followed by free ice skating performances by some of the world’s best ice skaters. The ice rink will be open to the public immediately before and after the event, with special pricing for kids, seniors and military.
Lakeside’s Maine Avenue comes alive with the sights and sounds of the holiday season on Sunday, December 7 from 4 to 9 p.m. when the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host the 15th Annual Spirit of Christmas on Maine (between Woodside and Laurel).
This free, fun-filled family event will include a tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa, vendor booths, kids’ activities, food, music and entertainment by local bands & schools.
An Amber Alert has been activated statewide at the request of the Washington state police. On December 4, 2013, at 02:30 pm, Elizabeth Romero was abducted from Kennewick, Washington. She is a 14 year old Hispanic, female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, brown hair, and brown eyes, last seen wearing a white tank top, dark pants, backpack, and a pink purse.
The suspect is Eduardo Flores-Rosalas, a 19 year old Hispanic, male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, unknown clothing. The suspect was last seen driving a early 2000s green Ford Escape, with Washington temporary registration. The suspect may be en-route to Mexico.
December 5, 2013 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council received 27 applications for the currently vacant councilmember position. The application period closed yesterday
The City Council is scheduled to interview applicants in Council chambers at the 7:00 p.m. Council meeting on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.
A list of applicants is below.
By Miriam Raftery
December 5, 2013 (El Cajon ) – The newly formed San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce has elected Ben Kalasho as president during the organization’s gala event at Sycuan Resort on November 22. Kalasho hailed the event, which drew about 100 attendees, as “a great turn out of professional movers and shakers.”
Preview by David Dickens
December 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County teams will be vying in the San Diego California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) football championships this weekend. Monte Vista Monarchs will take the field Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Sweetwater High’s Red Devils, followed by a 7 p.m. matchup between Christian High Patriots and the San Marcos Knights. Below are previews of the games.
SAN DIEGO UNIFIED, COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, AND SOLAR CONTRACTOR TEAM UP TO TRAIN "SOLAR CHAMPIONS"
December 4, 2013 (San Diego) – -Nearly 30 San Diego Unified School District teachers are becoming "Solar Champions." Earlier this week, the school district hosted a workshop for those teachers to help them incorporate the solar energy/technology they now have at their schools into their curriculum.
Main Street Power is a solar contractor that recently completed the installation of roof-top solar systems at 29 of the district's schools. As part of its contract with the district, Main Street Power is providing the teachers with training and classroom solar car kits, as well as materials on solar energy/technology that are aligned with the districts' science curriculum. The company is also giving each school a computer that will serve as an "energy portal."
December 4, 2013 (San Diego) — By a 5-0 vote, San Diego Supervisors Tuesday approved efforts to add the PulsePoint smartphone app to regional 9-1-1 emergency systems. The system enables notification of trained citizen volunteers to respond quickly to cases of sudden cardiac arrest and initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while awaiting medical responders. The measure was introduced by Supervisors Ron Roberts and Bill Horn.
Nearly 1,000 lives are lost daily in the U.S. due to sudden cardiac arrest, which can occur even in active, seemingly healthy people with no history of heart disease. Cardiac arrest is among the leading causes of death among adults over age 40 in the U.S. According to the American Heart Association, of 383,000 people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest, 90% die.
December 4, 2013 (El Cajon) – If home-grown music is your thing, then the place to be this Friday night is the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater, the venue for the always eclectic and entertaining Winter Wonder Jam, produced by students in the college’s Music Industry program.
Set for 7-10 p.m. Dec. 7, concert-goers will be treated to music ranging from rock, pop, jazz, acoustic and hip- hop.
December 4, 2013 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: Can you discuss pollutants in car interior materials, and also pollution inside cars originating from gasoline and diesel exhausts outside the car?
-- Mervyn Kline, Philadelphia, PA
December 4, 2013 (El Cajon)--The U.S. Postal Service is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of two suspects who robbed a mail carrier in El Cajon on Wedneday, November 27 at 5:05 p.m. The theft occurred in the 2400 block of Fletcher Parkway.
Both suspects were described as 25 to 30 years old, white with medium build, about 5 feet 11 inches tall. One suspect had a tear drop tattoo under his left eye and wore al ong-sleeved dark shirt, dark shorts, black knee-high socks and black shoes. The other suspect had full sleeve-like tattoos on both arms; he wore a white So-Cal Tshirt, shorts and black shoes.