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TREASURES OF EAST COUNTY: 4 SALES AT ONE LOCATION JANUARY 31 TO BENEFIT EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE REPORTING AND WILDFIRE ALERTS!

SOITEC TO SHIFT FOCUS AWAY FROM SOLAR

LAKESIDE VANDALS SOUGHT: $1,000 REWARD OFFERED

PRESIDENT LAYS OUT POPULIST PLANS TO HELP MIDDLE CLASS IN STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO STATE OF UNION OFFERS SHARP CONTRAST TO PRESIDENT’S VISION

WHAT OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION MEANS FOR SAN DIEGO

COME TO THE CABARET: LA MESA CHAMBER'S 7TH ANNUAL SALUTE TO LOCAL HEROES

TENTATIVE VICTORY FOR ALPINE IN LAWSUIT OVER FUNDS FOR HIGH SCHOOL

COUNTY PLANNERS APPROVE SOITEC SOLAR PROJECTS IN BOULEVARD DESPITE SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES

PICKER ROLLS OUT REFORMS AS NEW PRESIDENT OF CA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

WIND TURBINE BURSTS INTO FLAMES IN OCOTILLO

MARCH FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, BUILD RACIAL JUSTICE FORUM: MLK DAY IN SAN DIEGO MONDAY, JANUARY 19


SECOND FLU DEATH REPORTED IN COUNTY; CASES UP 77%

January 11, 2013 (San Diego)--A 92-year-old woman died from influenza, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday   It was the second death this flu season. The first was an 89-year-old woman who died Nov. 15. 

County health officials are encouraging everyone to be immunized to help protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu, especially now that influenza activity is increasing nationwide. A total of 143 cases were reported the week ending Jan. 5, a 77 percent increase from the prior week, when 81 cases were reported.

ANIMAL CRUELTY SUSPECT SOUGHT

Severely Neglected Dog Found Dying in Dumpster

January 11, 2012 (Spring Valley)--The County of San Diego Department of Animal Services is looking for any witnesses or information regarding a severely neglected dog that was found in a dumpster Saturday, Jan. 5 at l in Spring Valley.

The dog, a tan-colored, 10 year old neutered male cocker spaniel, was wrapped in a blanket and placed in a black plastic trash bag, which was tied shut and put in the school dumpster.

THE BETRAYAL OF BOULEVARD: CAN THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR TOWN, TOO?

 

“There is nothing altruistic about this.” – Don Renard, Boulevard resident, on planned destruction of his rural community to create an energy corridor

“I don’t know of any community facing this many energy projects.” – Donna Tisdale, Chair, Boulevard Planning Group

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2013 (Boulevard)--Retired tugboat captain Don Renard worked hard all his life before purchasing a little piece of heaven in San Diego's rural East County.  He bought  a historic house, the former Ruby Store, once a stage coach stop in Boulevard.  He and his family have been working to restore it—in between savoring quiet times spent watching the hawks, owls and song birds among the old oak groves around their home. 

But there’s a squall of epic proportions on the horizon.  Soon, the Renard family’s home is slated to be surrounded by an industrial solar “farm”—on all four sides.  In every direction, 360 degrees, massive panels 30 feet high or so will track the sun.  Some will be just 300 feet from his doorstep.

SHIFTING BALANCE ON NEW BOARD OF SUPERVISORS COULD HAVE BIG IMPACTS FOR EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Supervisor Dianne Jacob spells out her goals for future; Dave Roberts, left, prepares to take oath as his children look on.

January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in 19 years, a new County Supervisor, Dave Roberts, has been elected.  At yesterday’s swearing in ceremony,  East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob also made history, becoming the longest serving woman on the Board. 

Jacob made clear that she hopes to have an ally in the newly elected Supervisor—particularly on energy issues and protection of the backcountry. Roberts pledged support for preserving open spaces and working to develop a county utility as an alternative to SDG&E.

MAYOR FILNER ORDERS HALT TO PROSECUTION OF ZONING CODE VIOLATIONS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2013 (San Diego)-- Mayor Bob Filner today announced that he has asked the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department and the Police Department to temporarily halt all prosecutions of city zoning code violations when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries  (letters attached), pending development of new regulations.

"As I made very clear during my campaign for Mayor, I support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and am committed to ensuring the people who legitimately need it for relief of pain are not kept from accessing it," Mayor Filner said. "I also want to assure the residents of San Diego that there will be the utmost safeguards surrounding these dispensaries.  They will not be near schools, playgrounds or any areas where children might gather.  Nor will they be allowed to infringe on the quality of life in any neighborhood."

NEIGHBORS HELP SAVE RESIDENTS FROM BURNING HOME

January 10, 2013 (Casa de Oro) – A  destroyed half of a resident in the 4100 block of Avoyer Place in Casa de Oro this morning.  At first, residents thought smoke in the kitchen area was due to cooking, until one went outside and saw smoke coming from under the garage.  Opening the door, he saw fire erupt into massive flames which quickly spread from the garage into the attic and home. 

“With the screams of ‘fire’, family members began to evacuate,” said Leonard Villareal with San Miguel Fire District.  “Residents inside the home had to carry the elderly female homeowner to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep a back bedroom to safety. Another neighbor entered the home and carried a young woman who was asleep in a back bedroom to safety.”

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO SAVE A LIFE? CPR CLASSES JAN. 19 IN ALPINE

January 10, 2013 (Alpine) -- Would you know how to respond if your child stopped breathing or if someone you love had a heart attack? Save-A-Heart will be conducting a CPR class at the Alpine Fitness Club, 1620 Alpine Blvd Suite 101 on Saturday Jan. 19th from 9am to 11am.

ARE WIND TURBINES WEARING OUT FASTER THAN THE INDUSTRY PREDICTED?

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- How long can we expect wind turbines built in our region to last? It’s a key question, since early wear and tear can sharply reduce efficiency, sticking ratepayers with hefty electricity bills. Now, a new study of 3,000 wind turbines finds that they are wearing down faster than manufacturers expected. The study, which claims to be the largest of its kind, examined both onshore and offshore turbines operating between 2000 and 2001.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

January 10, 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:

U.S.

WORLD

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

ALPINE REALTOR TO SERVE AS 2013 PRESIDENT OF REALTORS ASSOCIATION

January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Alpine resident Jeff Campbell, a realtor with Jeff Campbell & Associates, will be installed as 2013 president of the 1,900-member Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors at PSAR’s 2013 board of directors installation dinner and celebration on Friday, Jan. 18. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Bonita Golf Course, 5540 Sweetwater Road, in Bonita. Seats cost $45 per person, or $400 for a table of eight. Register online at www.psar.org or www.esdcar.org, or phone (619) 421-7811 or (619) 579-0333.

WHY THE REAL ESTATE MARKET LOOKS BRIGHT FOR SAN DIEGO

By Ryan Zuckerman, Homehub.com

After a few years of a down economy and real estate market, the sun is rising again, as things turn around for the housing market in San Diego. How you might ask?  Here are HomeHub.com's top three reasons why we believe the future is a bright for the real estate market in San Diego.

BIOINITIATIVE 2012 REPORT ISSUES NEW WARNINGS ON WIRELESS AND ELECTROMAGNETIC FREQUENCIES

Brain cancer, sperm damage among risks

January 8, 2012 (New York)-- A new report by the BioInitiative Working Group 2012 says that evidence for risks to health has substantially increased since 2007 from electromagnetic fields and wireless technologies (radiofrequency radiation). The Report reviews over 1800 new scientific studies.   Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

LA MESA TO HOST TOWN HALL MEETINGS

January 10, 2013 (La Mesa) – In an on-going commitment to communicate with residents, all five members of the La Mesa City Council will host two Town Hall Meetings. The open-forum sessions are scheduled at the following locations:

RENO DISPATCH: BREAKING NEWS: SUPREME COURT REJECTS HISTORIC LAWSUIT AGAINST GOVERNMENT

By Jamie Reno, The Reno Dispatch

January 10, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will not hear arguments in an historic lawsuit filed by two veterans groups in 2007 against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The lawsuit, Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, demanded that the VA fix its broken mental health care system.

Last May, a federal appeals court in California voted 10–1 to dismiss the case, ruling that only Congress or the president has the authority to direct changes on how veterans are treated. The decision overturned a 2–1 ruling in 2011 by the same court, which said that the department’s “unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough,” and permitted the plaintiffs to ask a federal judge to order changes in the VA.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/breaking-news-supreme-court-...

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: RODENTS AND COLD WEATHER - A PESKY FIRE HAZARD!

January 10, 2013 (San Diego) – People aren't the only ones who value a dry, cozy home in cold weather according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Rodents do, too. "As it gets colder, everything that was out tends to want to find some sort of harbor inside," says Chief DiGiovanna. They scurry in our walls and above our heads during the night, they raid our food and ruin it with their feces, and they reproduce wildly, creating more and more inhabitants for us to worry about. Rats, mice and squirrels also do a lot of damage to your home's structure, insulation, pipes and even electrical wiring.

BORDER PATROL HOSTS EAST COUNTY COMMUNITY FORUM JANUARY 16

January 10, 2013 (Alpine) – The public is invited to the U.S. Border Patrol’s East County Community Forum on January 16 at 6 p.m.  The forum will be held  in the Alpine Elementary School auditorium, 1850 Alpine Boulevard in Alpine.

The forum will include discussion of community concerns, East County security threats, and the 2012-2016 Strategic Plan.  RSVPs are requested to Michael Scappechio, Border Community Liaison Coordinator, at (619)216 4259 or michael.j.scappechio@cbp.dhs.gov.

WINTER STORM WARNING: COLD STORM TO BATTER AREA, SNOW COULD DROP TO 2,000 FEET

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)—Expect chilly temperatures through the weekend as a cold front sweeps into the region.  A winter storm warning has been issued for mountains and deserts today, with snow levels dropping to as low as 2000 feet tonight.   That’s low enough to bring snow to Interstate 8 in East County  east of Alpine.  Rain is forecast for areas west of the mountains.

Snow is expected to impact the following areas today, dropping even lower tonight: Cuyamaca, Descanso, Julian, Mount Laguna, Pine Valley, Ranchitta, Santa Ysabel, and Warner Springs. Visibility could be reduced to zero from blowing and drifting snow.  This weather could be deadly for hikers and campers caught unprepared, the National Weather Service warns.

A high wind warning has also been issued for mountain and desert areas, with gusts up to 65 mp and sustained winds of 25-30 mph. forecast. In coastal areas, flooding and rip currents are expected to produce hazardous conditions.

MAYOR MADRID’S AUDIT REPORT REFLECTS ON CITY’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD

By Miriam Raftery

Jaunary 9, 2013 (La Mesa) – Mayor Art Madrid reflected on the past,  praised the city’s present accomplishments, and looked ahead to the future in his annual city audit report delivered on January 8 in the City’s Centennial year.

“I dare say that in many ways we are glad to see 2012 in our rear view mirror,” he said, citing budget cuts by the state among the city's biggest challenges in the past year. Fiscal challenges will continue, he predicted, as Congress embarks on the federal budget negotiations battle. “We may be seeing the last of the Community Development Block Grants, CDBG and Housing Assistance Programs, plus other vital safety net programs that assist certain members of our society.”

Mayor Madrid also named climate change and environmental concerns among the key challenges ahead, spoken in a week when the National CIimatic Office announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S.  “What is the role of local governments, including La Mesa, in addressing these problems? First choosing facts and science over politics, acknowledge that these issues exist, and define their impact on our city by evaluating the costs and consequences of doing nothing,” said Madrid.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: REPUBLICANS WIN THE "FISCAL CLIFF" DEBATE

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

The views expressed in this column reflect the views of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

January 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The first part of the “fiscal cliff” debate is over — and the Republicans won. That’s not the impression you’ll get from the corporate media, either the “objective” mainstream or the Right-wing media party of talk radio and Fox News. The mainstream media are reporting the swift passage of a bill through both houses of Congress continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans making $400,000 per year ($450,000 per couple) as a triumph for President Obama and at least a partial fulfillment of his pledge in both Presidential campaigns for a (slight) tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. (Ironically, the $400,000 at which the restored tax rates kick in also happens to be the salary of the President.) But the bill is actually a slap-dash scheme thrown together at the last minute to keep taxes from returning to Clinton-era levels for all Americans — and it leaves the Republicans with yet another opportunity to hold the American economy hostage and demand draconian cuts to what’s left of the social safety net when Congress next has to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in two months.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK

 

January 9, 2013 (Anza Borrego) – Daren Sefcik photographed these spectacular images in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  This endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep ram was spotted in a canyon between Potrero and Squaw canyons near Agua Caliente campground. “We were out backpacking for four days through there, “Sefcik says.  He also captured this beautiful sunrise over Whale Peak, photographed from Fish Creek.

 

 

 

 

OASIS CAMEL DAIRY TOURS ON JAN. 13 AND FEB. 10

January 9, 2013 (Ramona) – The Oasis Camel Dairy opens its doors for tours on January 13 and February 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Enjoy a humorous and intimate hour with the camels and tour the facilities and pastures of the farm.

MAYOR FILNER ANNOUNCES STAFF APPOINTMENTS REFLECTING DIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO

January 9, 2013 (San Diego)--Mayor Bob Filner has announced his staffing team at City Hall. The appointments reflect San Diego’s diversity: over 50% are women, 38% Latino, 21% African-American, 4% Asian Pacific Islander as well as staff from the lesbian, gay, bisexual/transgender community.

“When I campaigned for Mayor, I pledged that everyone would have a seat at the table, and that includes in my administration. I am proud to lead this team of talented and dedicated women and men. Together we will work hard for the citizens of San Diego,” said Mayor Bob Filner, who also released salaries of his staffers as part of his pledge toward transparency.

LITTLE SAIGON FUNDRAISING AND AWARD DINNER JAN. 13

January 9, 2013 (San Diego) –In response to the long-time needs and present demands of the Vietnamese community, the Little Saigon Foundation is opening a Vietnamese Community Center in order to create a space for social services and cultural interaction.  Early services include a Vietnamese Language School, Youth Leadership Development, Translation services, and physical health programs such as “Càng Khôn Thập Linh” (a combination of Tai-chi and yoga), as well as international ballroom dance. With spaces offered to local community groups to meet and hold events, the Center is the first Vietnamese Community Center in City Heights.  Up until now, the organization has been operating on mostly the support of volunteers, but is now looking to add permanent paid staff.  As such, the organizations will host the Little Saigon Fundraising and Award Dinner on Jan. 13 from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. at the Lucky Star Restaurant, 3894 54th St., San Diego.

STUDY CONFIRMS HIGH INFRASOUND LEVELS NEAR WIND FARM WHERE PEOPLE ABANDONED THEIR HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – ECM has previously reported about serious health problems experienced by people living near the Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin, where county health officials sought emergency declaration for families forced to relocate.  That’s relevant here in East County, where four industrial-scale wind energy facilities propose to place turbines close to homes.

Now a Public Service Commission study has proven “dangerous levels” of infrasound generated by those turbines.  Four acoustical experts conducted C-weighted sound tests in December and found high readings oflow-frequency noise, or infrasound. One researcher became ill himself with symptoms similar to those experience by residents.  Symptoms of the afflicted families include heart palpitations, ear infections, muscle and join pain, and general malaise. 

SANTEE RESIDENT PRODUCES FREE FAMILY ARTS & LITERACY PROGRAM AT THE SALVATION ARMY KROC CENTER JAN. 31

January 9, 2013 (San Diego) -- Local master teaching artist and educator Jerry Hager and The San Diego State University Performing Arts Troupe present “The Enchanted Bookshoppe” as part of the Free Family Arts and Literacy Connection series on January 31 at 6:30 p.m. at The Salvation Army Kroc Center’s multipurpose room at 6605 University Avenue, San Diego.  The Free Family Arts and Literacy series is a partnership between The Salvation Army Kroc Center and Young Audiences of San Diego.

FOREST SERVICE BEGINS PRESCRIBED BURNS IN EAST COUNTY

January 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The Palomar Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest will conduct prescribed burning from January 15, 2013 through June 30, 2013 when weather and fuel moisture conditions permit.  This vegetation removal is for the purpose of hazardous fuels reduction, community defense zone maintenance and forest health.  The prescribed burning will take place at various locations on the District including Palomar Mountain, Ramona, San Diego Country Estates, Sunshine Summit and Aguanga.  The projects will cover approximately 700 acres.  Some drifting smoke may be visible during the period of burning.

Residents and other public may call Battalion Chief Tim Gray at 619-902-1414 for more information.

FINANCIALLY TROUBLED IBERDROLA SELLS OFF SOME ASSETS, BUT RETAINS TULE WIND PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Spanish utility giant Iberdrola Renewables still plans on “going ahead with Tule Wind” in McCain Valley near Boulevard despite a string of financial setbacks, Paul Copleman, media relations spokesman at Iberdrola USA, told ECM. 

Iberdrola, the world’s largest operator of wind farms, sold off $1.1 billion in assets in 2012 to reduce its staggering 32 million euros of debt as the company's Standard and Poors Rating teetered just above junk bond status.  Assets sold included 32 wind farms in France to GE. 

 Iberdrola also divested itself of some natural gas assets and  in the U .S., Energy Network, Energetix and NYSEG Solutions. In addition, the company has has quietly abandoned efforts to pursue at least one U.S. wind project and potentially more. 

HOW TO AVOID A TOXIC TAKEOVER OF YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH

Renowned Doctor’s Simple Tips To Help Turn the Toxic Tide   

January 9, 2013 (San Diego)--Dr. Paul Thompson is a nationally renowned surgeon and age management practitioner with the Cenegenics Medical Institute. He has helped patients around the country reverse diabetes, combat obesity, fight off genetic health risks, and has guided them to living longer and healthier lives. Dr. Thompson’s Tips (www.drthompsonstips.com / Twitter:  @drthompsonstips) have been featured by media outlets nationally, including national media outlets.

ACCUSED SERIAL KILLER MAY HAVE VICTIMIZED MORE WOMEN IN SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2013 (San Diego)—Samuel McDowell, 72, has been charged with the murder of three women in Los Angeles. But authorities reveal he has lived in 24 states and has a long history of violence—including vicious assaults on women here in San Diego back in the 1980s.  He lived in San Diego in the ‘80s and in El Centro in the ‘90s and early 2000s.

He was convicted of assault locally, including strangling a prostitute and throwing another woman out of his car on Highway 94 after sexually assaulting her. Yet he was soon back on the streets after serving brief time behind bars. Prior to that time he was acquitted of attempted murder in Florida and suspected of murder and attempted murder in Mississippi.

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