AFFORDABLE HOUSING DENSITY BONUS, DRAFT MARIJUANA ORDINANCE AND FERRETS ON LA MESA COUNCIL’S AGENDA TUESDAY

ELEVATED FIRE CONCERNS AS HOT, WINDY WEATHER ARRIVES

ALPINE SUNRISE POWERLINK MITIGATION OPEN HOUSE SHOWCASES GRANT PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS TO RESIDENTS

FIRE AT SPRING VALLEY HOMELESS CAMP THREATENED CONDOS; HAZMAT CONSULTED AND FIRE CREWS DECONTAMINATED DUE TO HUMAN WASTE

LAGUNA MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS BRINGS HISTORY OF MOUNTAIN MAN ENCAMPMENTS TO LIFE OCT. 13-22

HUNTER CALLS FOR FIRST STRIKE AGAINST NORTH KOREA: DRAWS BLASTS FROM BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC OPPONENTS

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: BEAUTIFUL BUCK

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

PUERTO RICO HIT HARD BY HURRICANE MARIA

OVER 200 DEAD IN MEXICO CITY EARTHQUAKE

NEW HEALTHCARE REPEAL BILL EVEN MORE SEVERE THAN MEASURE DEFEATED PREVIOUSLY

BUGSY’S BREW, POPULAR COFFEE SHOP AND OPEN MIC VENUE, CLOSES DOORS

RAMONA CARJACKING SUSPECT WANTED

 

East County News Service

December 23, 2015 (Ramona) –Authorities are searching for a man in a silver Mercury SUV who reportedly kidnapped two men, crashed the car, and then carjacked an elderly woman, heading south on Highway 67.  He is driving a silver Mercury SUV with California license plate 6KLF075. 

The SUV has a sunroof, roof rack and Kansas Jayhawks license plate. The suspect is desecribed as a white man, 50-60 years old, , 5'8" to 5'9" tall,  unshaven, with a thin build.  He was last seen wearing black sunglasses, a zippered hoody, faded blue jeans and light colored shoes. He might have been injured in the crash.

Deputies from the Ramona Sheriff's Substation responded to a report of a car crash on San Vicente and Wildcat Canyon Roads just after 10:00 a.m. today. Upon arrival, two men inside the car told deputies they had been kidnapped from a sports complex in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. After the crash, the alleged suspect carjacked an elderly woman in the SUV now sought.

EL CAPITAN THEATRE BROUGHT US THE ABSURD THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

 

 

By Kathy Carpenter

Associate /Youth Reviewer www.sdtheatrereviews.com

 

December 7, 2015 - (Lakeside) - For a breather from all the holiday cheer I took in El Capitan High School's Acting Can Be Murder. Was this the show perfect? Of course not. These were high school students, works in progress. But the show was light-hearted fun, totally entertaining, and Lindsay Gampel-Qualin, teacher and director, has some talented actors emerging in Lakeside.

 

COVERT CANYON OPPONENTS APPEAL TO SUPERVISORS

 

"Arguably, the County will now be required to allow any such property owner to conduct commercial firearms training on an interim basis so long as a permit application is eventually submitted." -- Marco Gonzalez

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2015 (Alpine) –Attorney Marco Gonzalez has filed an appeal with County Supervisors on behalf of environmental groups and neighbors of Covert Canyon in Alpine. If the Planning Director's decision stands, he argues, it would set a precendent that could subject residents across vast areas of the County  to neighbors opening up similar commercial shooting ranges.

The appeal contends that it was illegal for the Planning Director to issue an order reclassifying the zoning ordinance defintion of “law enforcement” to include military and law enforcement firearms training at Covert Canyon, a mountain meadow surrounded by Cleveland National Forest, without reveiw under the California Environmental Quality (CEQA) Act. 

A THOUSAND NATIVE WOMEN’S VOICES RECLAIM THEIR POWER

By Leon Thompson, Tribal Beat reporter, East County Magazine

December 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --  Erica Pinto (photo, left) and the Jamul Indian Village hosted the premier showing of  A Thousand Voices, a documentary film from Silver Bullet Productions an educational filmmaking program for rural and tribal communities.

This is the story of Native American women in New Mexico from the Pueblo, the Dine’ and the Apache nations.  A common thread is that all are accomplished women leaders held in esteem as keepers of the culture.  Matriarchal in many ways, men and women are equal in the creation stories of indigenous people from the beginning of time.

View the Trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXfEpcGTe9A (Scroll down or hit "read more" for our review)

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

December 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County)-- East County Magazine's 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:

U.S.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

December 22, 2015 (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:

Local /Regional

State

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

GIFTS FROM THE EAST: OUR 2015 LOCAL GIFT-GIVING GUIDE

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- If you’re looking for a special gift for someone on your list, here are a few ideas available right here in East County that show the uniqueness of our region. This year's options range from savoring the fruits of local winemakers' labors to purchasing locally made pottery, camel milk lotions, and hand-woven weareable art to taking a staycation at a sumptuous desert resort. 

HO, HO! HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH “SANTA” BILL SWANK, AUTHOR OF CHRISTMAS IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  Left, Bill Swank with Reina Menasche; lower right, Swank with Ed Barrena at our studio in El Cajon

Listen to the podcast of our interview, originally aired on KNSJ Radio 89.1 FM: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/rqxbr1r051/BookshelfSanta-BillSwank.mp3

December 21, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re looking for a true treasure to share with someone on your holiday gift list, a copy of Bill Swank’s Christmas in San Diego is ideal.  His book is filled with local examples of the Christmas spirit, from Santee Santas giving back to the community to endearing and unique holiday traditions in towns across our region.

“The goodness that we have in us all  is Santa Claus,” says Swank, who has expertise in delivering holiday cheer. He’s played Santa for years, including serving as Santa Claus at the annual December Nights celebration in Balboa Park.

SYCUAN DONATES $75,000 IN GIFT GIVING CEREMONY TO BENEFIT 30 LOCAL CHARITIES

 

 

East County News Service

 

December 21, 2015 (El Cajon, CA) – Thirty local charities received over $75,000 in donations from Sycuan at a Gift Giving Ceremony on December 10th, an event that started back in 2006. Each member of Sycuan’s leadership team, comprised of elected tribal council members, the casino executive management team and the casino directors, had the opportunity to each select a charity of their choice to support. All 30 charities were present at the event that took place in Paipa’s Buffet, where they had the opportunity to speak to the group about their cause and receive their monetary donation.

 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: NATURE'S CAMOUFLAGE

 

 

 

East County News Service

 

December 18, 2015 (Descanso) – Can you spot the California Tree Frog  (Pseudacris cadaverina) in this photo?

It blends in quite well with the granite background in this image taken in Descanso by Duncan McFetridge. 

"Mr. McFetridge’s photo of the treefrog is a very classic example of their habitat and behavior and it is great to see a photo of a local amphibian as the photo of the week," says Chris Brown with the U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, who identified the well-hidden amphibian for us. 

20TH ANNUAL TOYS FOR JOY GETS BIGGEST TURNOUT AT EL CAJON SITE

By Janis Russell 

 

December 14, 2015 (El Cajon) – Over 5,000 people attended Toys for Joy at El Cajon Valley High School on December 12th, according to Pastor Miles McPherson of the Rock Church.  For many of the children in need present, these may be the only toys they receive this Christmas season. 

 

GERMAN AMERICAN SOCIETIES TO HOST NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA

East County News Service

December 18, 2015 (El Cajon) — The German American Societies of San Diego invite you to ring in the New Year during a gala at their headquarters in El Cajon (1017 S. Mollison Ave.) on Wednesday, December 31st.   Come dressed up and enjoy dinner and dessert, the Blue Birds show band to put you in a dancing mood, party favors, a midnight snack and champagne.

WRONG-WAY DRIVER SUFFERS FATAL INJURIES ON I-8

East County News Service

December 18, 2015 (Lakeside) --  A woman driving a silver 2002 Infinity on Los Coches Road drove onto an exit ramp and entered Interstate 8 east, heading in the wrong direction at 10:08 p.m. last night.  She collided with a black 2015 Jeep Patriot, which rolled onto its right side.

THE RETIREMENT CONCIERGE: CHOOSING A DISTANT TRUSTEE

 

By Sharon Hamilton

December 18, 2015 (San Diego) -- Dear SharonAnn:  My wife and I set up our family trust several years ago. We have two grown children and named them as successor co-trustees should we be unable to act. Some friends of ours did the same thing with their three adult children. We know them and their situations. One son lives in Perth, one son lives in Shanghai and their daughter lives in BoraBora and they all come home to visit about once every three years. I read something about the details of being a trustee and I’ve been telling them it is a bad idea. In fact it may even be a bad idea for us even though ours live in Key West, Florida and Marshall, Arkansas. What do you suggest?  Signed Perplexed.

ASK AN AUTHOR: INTERVIEW WITH NY TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR EILEEN GOUDGE

 

by Sarka-Jonae Miller

December 18, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - New York Times best-selling author and former La Jolla resident Eileen Goudge drops by to answer her favorite reader question and a few of mine. Goudge is the author of more than a dozen books, including Garden of Lies, Trail of Secrets, Thorns of Truth, Such Devoted Sisters, The Replacement Wife, and her latest novel Bones and Roses.

PLANNING COMMISSION GUNS DOWN APPEAL, ALLOWS COVERT CANYON TO CONDUCT MILITARY FIREARMS TRAINING AMID FEDERAL FOREST LANDS

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Covert Canyon owner Marc Halcon (left); neighbors Clark and Robin Williams (right)

December 17, 2015 (Alpine) – Testimony at the County Planning Commission hearing on Covert Canyon   on December 11th was heated, as concerned citizens and planners fired off concerns which project backers sought to deflect.  At stake was an appeal filed by neighbors and environmentalists opposed to the Planning Director’s decision allowing commercial firearms training of military and police at the Alpine site, which is surrounded by Cleveland National Forest lands.  Animal rights activists also protested live shooting of pigs for military medic training at the property in the past. 

Here are some of the impassioned statements made:

“What the Planning Director has done is sign a death warrant for the national forest.” – Duncan McFetridge, co-chair, Cleveland National Forest Foundation

“I live in constant fear…it is extremely dangerous.” – Robin Williams, neighbor closest to Covert Canyon

 “Military ranges are overloaded right now. Post-911, demand is up…We live in a different world now; our law enforcement and first responders have to have training to respond.” – Marc Halcon, Covert Canyon owner

“You’re allowing an unlimited decibel ordinance for 14 minutes every hour. That’s no ordinance at all…How can a firing range not have substantial impact? It’s beyond my comprehension.” – Planning Commissioner Michael Beck

“This is the most tortured interpretation of the zoning ordinance I have ever seen…You’re going to get sued, and you’re going to lose.” – Attorney Marco Gonzalez, addressing County Planning Commission

“We all know about the global war on terror…Range time equals one of our biggest challenges in San Diego…this is paramount for the success of war fighters.” – Tommy Marquez, on behalf of Congressman Duncan Hunter

WHITE CHRISTMAS IN MOUNTAINS AS STORMS MOVE IN

 

East County News Service

December 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) -- A cold front moving through our region will bring showers and gusty winds late Saturday through early Sunday, with snow expected in the mountains above 5000 feet.

Looking towards Christmas time late next week, there are signs that there could be a wet storm system December 23-26 that could bring low snow-levels, rain and strong winds.  “This has the potential to be a high impact event that will affect holiday travel,” says Mark Moede, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

DESCANSO: EAST COUNTY’S HIDDEN TREASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2015 (Descanso) – Gateway to Cleveland National Forest, the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, Descanso is a small town that takes pride in its rural tranquility, scenic beauty, and rich history. 

The very name means “place of rest” in Spanish, a haven where early travelers stopped off  to encamp beneath the shade of pine and oak trees beside fresh-flowing water fed by mountain streams.  Descanso Valley was once known as Guatay Valley, reportedly derived from the Kumeyaay Indian name for “Na-Wa-Ti-e,” meaning Big Chief’s House, as Native Americans called the majestic mountain often veiled in mist beyond meadows strewn with wildflowers, golden in the sun.

LOCAL WINERIES WIN BIG WITH SAN DIEGO COUNTY WINES

 

Source: Ramona Valley Vineyard Association

December 17,  2015 (Ramona) – Vineyard & Winery Management’s 25th Annual Grand Harvest Awards revealed the results of this year’s competition, naming top honors for three local wineries: Ramona Ranch Winery, Altipiano Vineyard and Winery, and Lenora Winery. From a pool of nearly 1500 entries submitted from throughout the United States and as far away as New Zealand, the total number of awards included 48 Best of Class, 44 Double Gold, 183 Gold and 574 Silver medals.

SCIENCE AND HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS

December 17, 2015 (San Diego's East County)-- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

THREAT TO L.A. SCHOOLS INCLUDED SAN DIEGO AND OTHER CITIES

 

Fears of school violence spark concerns among parents

By Miriam Raftery

December 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – On Tuesday, an e-mail that threatened bombings and shootings caused Los Angeles Unified School District to shut down and 1,500 schools, impacting 650,000 students. Searches proved the threat was a hoax. A similar threat was received in New York City, where the school district opted to remain open, deeming the threats not credible.

Today,10 News reports that the L.A. e-mail  also warned, “If you cancel classes, the bombings will take place regardless, and we will bring our guns to the streets and offices of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and San Diego.”   

The e-mail writer claimed to be a Muslim who had been bullied in L.A. schools and claimed to be working with “32 comrades” willing to die. The hoaxter claimed to have pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks to be detonated with cell phones as well as “nerve gas agents” set to go off at lunch time,automatic weapons and grenades to massacre students “mercilessly.”

PARKWAY MIDDLE SCHOOL WARNS OF MAN IN BLUE VAN APPROACHING STUDENTS

East County News Service

December 16, 2015 (La Mesa) – Parkway Middle School e-mailed a safety alert to parents advising that at 8:20 a.m. yesterday morning, two Parkway students were approached by a Hispanic man in his late 30s, wearing a gray beanie and driving a rusty blue work van. The students were walking on Dallas Street near the fire department.  According to the notice to parents, the man waved to students and wanted them to come over to the van, but the students ran to the school instead.

LA MESA HERALDS END OF DOWNTOWN CONSTRUCTION, BUT SCALED-BACK CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE LEAVES SOME RESIDENTS DISAPPONTED

 

Cutbacks raise key question: who should pay for security costs of festivals in La Mesa?

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2015 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis joined with students from Peter Pan Junior Theatre to sing carols amid holiday lighting in the downtown village at La Mesa Shimmers—a special event held December 9th to celebrate completion of the downtown streetscape construction project and reopening of the historic district.

The event was notably separate from the La Mesa Village Merchants Association’s  Christmas in the Village held December 11 and 12. This year, the merchants’ festival was dramatically scaled back due to lack of funds to shut down streets, leading some residents to ask why the city expects merchants to shoulder the full burden of police and security costs for celebrations that benefit the citizenry as well as local shopkeepers--particularly after construction hurt merchants' businesses for the past year.

TOPPING OUT CEREMONY CELEBRATES $13 MILLION STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES AND ARTS BUILDINGS AT GROSSMONT HIGH

 
 
By Miriam Raftery 
 

December 16, 2015 (El Cajon)--Students and school officials held a “Topping Out” Ceremony Tuesday for the new student support services and arts classroom buildings under construction at Grossmont High School.

 

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