MURDER VICTIM DESCRIBED BY RABBIS AS "SWEET" AND "EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL"

GROWING TOGETHER: SDG&E SPONSORS TREE PLANTING EVENT AT JULIAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

VICTIM KILLED BY SHOOTER AT EL CAJON DENTAL CLINIC WAS JEWISH; FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION

SAN DIEGO FLOOD RESPONSE FUND RAISES AND GRANTS MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO ASSIST FLOOD SURVIVORS

ACTIVE SHOOTING SUSPECT IN EL CAJON ARRESTED: 1 DEAD, 2 INJURED

SDSU STUDENT NEEDS HELP FOR INJURIES, LOSS OF VEHICLE DUE TO HELPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM

IRS EXTENDS TAX FILING DEADLINES FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY SEVERE STORMS

'WE'LL DO IT AGAIN': REPUBLICAN ACTIVISTS BACK FIFTH ATTEMPT TO RECALL GOV. NEWSOM

INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO TEACH ONE MILLION SAN DIEGANS HANDS-ONLY CPR

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS TODAY; JPA TO TAKEOVER OPERATIONS

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY I'M AN INDEPENDENT FOR CONGRESS VS. SARA JACOBS AND BILL WELLS

A TSUNAMI OF EVIDENCE: SDPD'S SIX MILLION VIDEOS

MURDER VICTIM DESCRIBED BY RABBIS AS "SWEET" AND "EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL"

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

March 2, 2024 (El Cajon) -- Dr. Benjamin Harouni (photo, left), a recent dental school graduate who was murdered Thursday at the dental offices of his father, Dr. Jack Harouni, in El Cajon, was described by members of the Jewish community who knew him as “sweet,” “extremely spiritual,” and “wise beyond his years.”
 
Many friends of the family are expected at the funeral service, which tentatively has been scheduled for 10 a.m., Sunday, March 3, at El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Cayon Road, San Diego.

GROWING TOGETHER: SDG&E SPONSORS TREE PLANTING EVENT AT JULIAN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2024 (San Diego) – Eager to roll up their sleeves and dig for a greener future, students from the Julian Union School District (JUSD) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) partnered for a tree-planting event on Feb. 29. The occasion brought together local volunteers from the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Wild Ones San Diego, Julian Pathways, students, teachers and SDG&E employees with a common purpose: to support local biodiversity and help reduce the risk of wildfires in the community they cherish.

SAN DIEGO FLOOD RESPONSE FUND RAISES AND GRANTS MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS TO ASSIST FLOOD SURVIVORS

 

More than 1,100 individuals, businesses & organizations contributed to the fund

Hundreds of flood survivors assisted by nonprofit grantees

With FEMA assistance now available, fund will sunset

March 1, 2024 (San Diego)  – San Diego Foundation (SDF) Wednesday announced that $1,353,000 has been raised for the San Diego Flood Response Fund, including a second earned match of more than $215,000 from the San Diego Foundation Board of Governors. In total, San Diego Foundation is the largest contributor to the response fund with more than $300,000.

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

March 1, 2024 (Spring Valley) – Sheriff’s deputies attempting to serve civil process documents Monday morning found a woman unconscious, unresponsive and suffering signs of trauma.

The victim, Pamela Williams, 55, was found at 7:45 a.m.in a residence in the 3900 block of Conrad Drive in Spring Valley, says Lieutenant Joseph Jarjura with the Sheriff’s homicide unit.

VICTIM KILLED BY SHOOTER AT EL CAJON DENTAL CLINIC WAS JEWISH; FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION

 

Update 7 p.m.: The Medical Examiner has confirmed the death of Benjamin Ariel Harouni, 28, of gunshot wounds.

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2024 (El Cajon) – Multiple Jewish media outlets report that the man killed at the Smile Plus Dentistry & Orthodonics clinic in  El Cajon late yesterday  was Dr. Benjamin Harouni, an Orthodox Jew at the clinic run by Harouni and his father. Authorities have not yet confirmed the victim’s identity, however the Jewish publication Yeshiva World News first published his name along with a photo confirming that Misakim members from  Los Angeles spent the scene at the scene watching over the body to assure that Jewish law was respected.  Jewish News Syndicate has also named Harouni as the fatality victim.

The shooting suspect, Mohammed Abdulkareem,29, was arrested after an intensive manhunt. He has been charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder, for two other workers who were injured.  El Cajon Police have indicated the suspect was a disgruntled former patient, but an investigation into his motives continues, with speculations raised online over whether these may have been anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Fabienne Perlov,  Regional Director of the The Anti-Defamation League in San Diego, has issued a statement indicating that its  Center on Extremism "has not identified any extremist or hate-related motivation behind the shootings at this point." 

The carnage might have been worse, if not for a swift response by El Cajon Police. After receiving reports of gunshots in the clinic at 4:14 p.m., officers arrived two minutes later and found the three gunshot victims, an ECPD press release indicates.  According to Yeshiva, Harouni “was found inside the office as the shooting was still ongoing and was taken outside by officers, where they attempted to perform lifesaving measures,” however he died at the scene.

ACTIVE SHOOTING SUSPECT IN EL CAJON ARRESTED: 1 DEAD, 2 INJURED

 

Update  March 1, 2024:  Officers and a mobile forensic lab remains on scene. Police have not revealed details, however a city official told  ECM that the shooting suspect was a digruntled patient. He has been charged with first degree murder.

Update 10  p.m.: The suspect is in custody,  per El Cajon Police post on X.

February 29, 2024 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police seeks public help to locate Mohammed Abdulkareem, 29, who is considered armed and dangerous. He is the suspect in an active shooter event tonight at the Smile Plus dental office in the 400 block of Magnolia Avenue.

He is described as light-skinned, wearing all black clothing. He fled the scene in a white U-haul pickup truck with Arizona license plate  AM 14894, last seen heading north on N. Mollison. If you see him or have any information, please call El Cajonj Police at 619 579-3311 or call 911.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS VOTE TO SUPPORT PROPERTY TAX PROPOSAL FOR FLOOD VICTIMS BROUGHT FORTH BY SHANE HARRIS

East County News Service

February 20, 2024 (San Diego) --On Tuesday, San Diego County Supervisors voted unanimously in support of a proposal that Shane Harris, President of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates, brought forth. Harris issued it to county supervisors on January 25th just three days after the San Diego floods that decimated several neighborhoods throughout southeastern San Diego, Southcrest and Barrio Logan as well.

The proposal requested that County Assessor and Supervisors establish a countywide ordinance that would defer the April 10th property tax delinquent deadline for flood victims, which would further support unincorporated areas like Spring Valley. Property taxes are usually due by April 10th before a delinquent notice is issued.

SDSU STUDENT NEEDS HELP FOR INJURIES, LOSS OF VEHICLE DUE TO HELPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2024 (San Diego) -- A San Diego State University student who intervened to help a victim of domestic violence has suffered injuries including a sprained back and neck, as well as loss of the vehicle he relies on for his livelihood.

COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON LOVELAND TRAILS MARCH 14 IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2024 (Alpine) -- A community workshop on trail improvements at Loveland Reservoir will be held on Thursday, March 14 at the Alpine Women’s Club (2156 Alpine Blvd) in Alpine from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

State Senator Brian Jones convened the workshop along with the Sweetwater Water Authority to hear from residents concerned about trail erosion and limited public access due to erosion caused by severe winter storms in January of last year.  

HOMELESS REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER ARRESTED DAYS LATER AFTER GRABBING PURSE IN WOMAN’S APARTMENT

East County News Service

February 28, 2024 (El Cajon) – Four days after being released from jail, a homeless registered sex offender on parole is behind bars again. Samuel Salas, 36, was arrested Feb. 26 after entering a woman’s apartment on South Magnolia in El Cajon.

IRS EXTENDS TAX FILING DEADLINES FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY SEVERE STORMS

East County News Service

Photo: CC by SA via Bing

February 28, 2024 (San Diego) -- The Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief for individuals and businesses in areas with disaster declarations designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This includes San Diego County residents and businesses impacted by the severe storms and flooding that began January 21st

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT SPENDING PLAN

By Fernanda Lopez Halvorson, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
February 28, 2024 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today on how to spend the final $102 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. 
 
In 2021, the County got $650 million in ARPA funds from the federal government and adopted a framework for spending it. ARPA is a stimulus bill meant to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social impacts.  

BIG INNING DOOMS SDSU BASEBALL IN LOSS TO UCR

Highlanders erupt for seven runs in second inning

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 28, 2024 (Riverside) - For the second straight game, San Diego State was undone by the big inning as host UC Riverside scored seven runs in the bottom of the second on Tuesday to fuel a 13-9 victory over the Aztecs at Riverside Sports Complex.

JAEDON LEDEE LEADS AZTECS MEN'S BASKETBALL TO WIN OVER SAN JOSE STATE

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 28, 2024 (San Diego) - Behind Jaedon LeDee's eleventh double-double of the season, San Diego State defeated San Jose State 72-64 on Tuesday night. The victory extends the Aztecs' home winning streak to 20 consecutive wins, the second-longest active streak in the country and third longest in program history.

'WE'LL DO IT AGAIN': REPUBLICAN ACTIVISTS BACK FIFTH ATTEMPT TO RECALL GOV. NEWSOM

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom.  File photo

February 27, 2024 (San Diego) - A group of conservative activists on Monday launched a fifth effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Rescue California accused Newsom of abandoning the state to “advance his Presidential ambitions,” leaving behind a $68 billion budget deficit and a “public safety, immigration and education crisis.”

TEENS ARRESTED FOR ROBBERY OF GAMESTOP STORE IN EL CAJON, TWO MORE SUSPECTS SOUGHT

East County News Service

February 27, 2024 (El Cajon) – Two teenage boys were arrested following a robbery at the Game Stop Store, 318 Broadway in El Cajon yesterday. El Cajon Police are still seeking two additional suspects.

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS TODAY; JPA TO TAKEOVER OPERATIONS

Tomatomania event restored, will take place March 8-9

By Miriam Raftery

Photo,left by Andy Franks:  Lauren Magnuson and Tim  Townsley are all smiles at entry of reopened Water Conservation Garden.

February 27, 2024 (Rancho San Diego, CA) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College reopened to the public today, after the Garden’s  Joint Powers Authority agreed to takeover operations from the financially struggling nonprofit group, Friends of the Water Conservation Garden. Following a brief closure,  Interim Executive Director Lauren Magnuson announced that she is “thrilled” that the Garden will be  “in bloom again.”

Hours will be limited initially to Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m.to 2 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.to 4 p.m.  Education programs such as  Ms. Smarty Plants are temporarily paused until the operational transition is completed. 

The popular “Tomatomania” event has been restored and will be held as originally scheduled March 8-9.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY I'M AN INDEPENDENT FOR CONGRESS VS. SARA JACOBS AND BILL WELLS

By Stan Caplan
 
from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photo: Stan Caplan holds up a bill he’s proposing for Congress while addressing a Ramona audience. Photo by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego
 
February 25, 2024 (San Diego) -- In a political landscape marked by extremes, I find myself standing as a beacon of reason and compromise. I ran as the endorsed Republican candidate against Sara Jacobs in the last midterm election, but today I proudly represent the people as an Independent/No Party Preference (NPP) candidate in California’s 51st Congressional District.
 
My decision to step away from the Republican Party is rooted in a deep sense of disillusionment felt by voters who have grown tired of politicians prioritizing self-interest over the needs of the people.

A TSUNAMI OF EVIDENCE: SDPD'S SIX MILLION VIDEOS

Body-Worn Cameras Ten Years after Ferguson
 
By JW August, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photos Courtesy San Diego Police Department. Warning: Photos contain graphic violent content.
 
February 25, 2024 (San Diego) -- Ten years ago, angry widespread protests erupted after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, MO. Called the Ferguson uprising, Brown’s death and the aftermath of unrest and anger brought immediate attention to law enforcement methods in Ferguson and in time was seen as an indictment of policing in the country and here in San Diego1.

HELP COUNTY SET BUDGET PRIORITIES

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
February 25, 2024 (San Diego) -- It is not released until May, but the County is already working on the budget for the next fiscal year. And thinking about what to prioritize in a volatile economy.  
 
That’s where you come in. The County wants your help.  
 
You’re invited to fill out a survey on Engage San Diego County to tell us which services are most important to you. Your responses will be considered in balance with other critical factors to set budget priorities for this and future budget cycles.

CHAIRWOMAN DELIVERS HER SECOND STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video by José Eli Villanueva: Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas delivers the 2024 State of the County Address at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista
 
February 25, 2024 (Chula Vista) -- County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas gave her second State of the County address during an evening presentation Wednesday, Feb. 21.

WOMAN FOUND DEAD NEAR CREEK IN SANTEE IDENTIFIED AS FAITH ANGLE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Forensic artist PJ Puterbaugh created this sketch that helped to identify the deceased woman. 

 

February 25, 2024 (Santee) -- A citizen’s tip helped the County Medical Examiner’s Office identify a woman who died in the Jan. 22 storm. The body of Faith Angle, 46, was found in brush along Forester Creek in Santee.

ECM HOLDS IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS WITH ALL THREE CANDIDATES RUNNING IN 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top left to lower right:  Dr. LaShea Sharp-Collins, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, and Councilman Colin Parent.

February 25, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – ECM reporter Jessyka Heredia has done in-depth interviews with all three candidates running in the 79th Assembly District.

All three are Democrats, and each has substantial public service experience.  LaShae Sharp-Collins, PhD, the party’s endorsed choice, is  the County Office of Education’s community engagement specialist, an adjunct professor at SDSU, and former district director for Assemblymember Shirley Weber, PhD.  Racquel Vasquez is Mayor of Lemon Grove and previously served on the city council and planning commission.  Colin Parent is a La Mesa Assemblyman and former director of external affairs for the California Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as past director of policy at the San Diego Housing Commission.

Each has many accomplishments and goals, which they highlight in our exclusive interviews. Vasquez and Parent tout their successful tract records of bringing new housing to their cities, while Sharp-Collins emphasized her expertise in education issues.. All spoke of their approaches to the state’s top issues including housing, homelessness, healthcare and education, as well as commenting on how the state might help the 79th Assembly district prevent future flooding.

Each candidate has faced controversy at times. Parent, who serves as general counsel for Circulate San Diego, has helped raise funds from developers for that nonprofit organization and has drawn criticism for supporting developer/donor interests on the City Council. Vaquez has drawn complaints from some residents over the city’s flood response and  storm drain issues . Sharp-Collins raised controversy, according to the Daily Aztec for a slave persona assignment.

Below are links to our exclusive interviews with each candidate for the March 5 primary election, listed in alphabetical order:

Colin Parent

LaShea Sharp-Collins

Racquel Vasquez

LASHAE SHARP-COLLINS TELLS VOTERS ABOUT HER GOALS AND QUALIFICATIONS FOR 79TH STATE ASSEMBLY RACE, IN ECM INTERVIEW

By Jessyka Heredia

Watch full interview here

February 25, 2024 (East County) –East County Magazine spoke with Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins about her campaign for the 79th State Assembly seat. She is currently the County Office of Education’s community engagement specialist and an adjunct professor at San Diego State University, as well as one of three candidate--all Democrats, vying for the Assembly seat being vacated by Dr. Akilah Weber, who is running for State Senate and has endorsed Sharp-Collins..

Before we got to questions, Sharp-Collins wanted to let our readers know that her website has real time information and resources for flood victims. Sharp-Collins family has also been impacted and she says she knows the struggles residents are going through. 

We then asked about her goals and accomplishments, as well as issues that matter to district 79.

MAYOR RACQUEL VASQUEZ TALKS TO ECM ABOUT CAMPAIGNING FOR THE 79TH STATE ASSEMBLY RACE

By Jessyka Heredia

Watch full interview 

February 25, 2023 (East County) – Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez is running for the 79th State Assembly seat--one of three candidates, all Democrats, vying for the open seat.

ECM interviewed her to find out what her views are on the issues that matter most and what she plans to do in Sacramento if elected. 

Vasquez is no stranger to running for office. She has served for neraly two decades, including on the Lemon Grove Planning Commission and City Council before becoming Mayor. Vasquez says she has a passion for public service.

COLIN PARENT TALKS TO ECM ABOUT HIS RUN FOR THE 79TH DISTRICT STATE ASSEMBLY SEAT

 

By Jessyka Heredia


Watch full interview here 

February 25, 2024 (East County) – La Mesa Councilmember Colin Parent is one of three candidates running for the 79th State Assembly seat that represents areas as far west as parts of North Park and as far east as El Cajon. ECM met up with Parent to discuss his qualifications and goals if elected. 

Parent grew up in East County and has served as a Councilmember in La Mesa since 2016, so he is no stranger to the district’s history and needs. This race has three candidates, all Democrats, vying for this seat currently held by Dr. Akilah Weber, who is now running for State Senate.  

39 VOTE CENTERS OPEN FOR MARCH PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo: Registrar of Voters employee demonstrates use of ballot marking device
 
February 25, 2024 (San Diego) -- You don’t have to wait until Election Day to vote in person. Voters can take advantage of early voting at 39 vote centers. The centers are located around the county and will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

MIGRANT CENTER CLOSES DESPITE SURGE IN IMMIGRANTS; DROP-OFFS AT TRANSIT STATIONS RESUMES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner KGTV 10 News.

February 25, 2024 (San Diego) – Bipartisan calls for federal help are escalating after closure of a local migrant welcoming center due to lack of funds amid an unprecedented surge in migrants from around the world.

The migrant center run by SBCS (formerly known as South Bay Community Center) closed its doors Thursday night.  Kathie Lembo, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, stated,  “As the number of migrants arriving at the center has increased significantly over the last few weeks, our finite resources have been stretched to the limit.”

San Diego County had allocated $6 million to fund the welcome center as an alternative to Border Patrol dropping off massive numbers of migrants at transit centers. The welcome center had provided temporary shelter, food, Wifi connections, and travel information for the vast majority of migrants seeking to rejoin family members elsewhere in the United States. The funds were expected to last until March.

But with more than 100,000 migrants arriving in our region since September, the center ran out of funds.  Now Border Patrol, which lacks sufficient facilities to detain migrants, is once again dropping many of them off at transit centers to fend for themselves, or accept help from volunteers.

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