March 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--Did you know that Cal Fire bureaucrats have joined the ranks of state agencies hiding taxpayer dollars? It’s sad, but true – recent Cal Fire headlines are less about the brave duty of firefighters and more about secreting taxpayer dollars away in a non-profit association.
Not only did Cal Fire hide $3.5 million, but they did so while Governor Brown and the Democrat-controlled Legislature slapped a $150 fire tax on rural residents from San Diego to the Northern California border.
March 17, 2013 (Ramona) --Winemakers at Hacienda de Las Rosas Winery are pulling out all the stops for the grand opening of their new wine tasting room at 18011 Bluegrass Road in Ramona. The event will be held March 23 and 24 from 12-5 p.m.
In addition to savoring wines, you can also tour this family- run winery and horse ranch – plus see special demonstrations by nationally acclaimed horse trainer Jorge Valenzuela and his champion Peruvian Paso horses.
There will also be a blessing of the mission-style winery by Father Fucci of San Diego Mission de Alcala on Saturday at noon. Plus guests can view creations by international artist Robert Kidd, enjoy barrel tasting of Swiss Chocolate Almond brandy and port, and more.
March 19, 2013 (Washington D.C.) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission announces a voluntary recall of LED light bulbs marketing under the brand names Definitely, EcoSmart, Sylvania and Westingthouse manufactured by Citizens Electric and Lighting Science Group. For details on the specific products, scroll down.
The bulbs can overhead, causing a fire hazard. At least 68 product failures have occurred, including eight where visible smoke or fire occurred. These incidents damaged light sockets, melted fixtures, burned carpeting/floors and damaged a circuit and lamp.
March 19, 2013 (San Diego) -- “Guys and Dolls” is a Tony-award winning musical, based on the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The Peter Pan Junior Theater is bringing this 1950’s Broadway production to life at The Performing Arts Center within The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 6845 University Ave., San Diego.
On March 23rd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. San Diego Saddlery will be hosting a tack sale to benefit the nonprofit Saving Horses Rescue. They will be selling both new and used items and will be using the storefront next to the Saddlery. The public is encouraged to stop by to support the rescue and find some great deals.
If you'd like to donate any new or gently used tack for the sale, just bring it by the San Diego Saddlery shop in El Cajon any time before the 23rd. Donations are tax deductible.
March 19, 2013 (El Cajon)--On Thursday, March 7, the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) presented their annual report to the GUHSD Governing Board. The CBOC is a group of 11 community volunteers who oversee the expenditure of Prop H and Prop U bond funds.
A cover letter from Chair Nancy Herbst raises concerns over finances in the wake of a recession and reduced state funds. Current funds will be exhausted by mid-2015, she warns, adding, "Further projects are planned, but will not be scheduled until future funding is more certain." A revised project schedule is included in the report. Prominent among projects placed on hold is the long-awaited 12th high school in Alpine.
Public meeting and vote set for March 21 on 3 local power plants, though judge denies public entry to March 20 with energy industry representatives and state regulators
By Miriam Raftery
March 18, 2013 (San Diego)— Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor today denied an injunction sought by Masada Disenhouse, who had asked the court to halt the California Public Utilities Commission from holding a closed-door, invitation-only meeting with energy industry stakeholders at the Scripps Seaside Forum in San Diego on Wednesday, March 20.
March 17, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- The trail to the top of Cowles Mountain from the Golfcrest Drive/Navajo Road trailhead is slated to be closed from Monday, March 25 through Friday, May 17 due to a trail restoration project. The restoration is estimated to take seven weeks, though dates are subject to change, Jay Wilson with the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation told ECM.
March 19, 2013 (Sacramento) – California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Director Will Lightbourne and California Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas have announced an agreement with In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) beneficiaries and labor organizations to resolve several class action lawsuits involving the IHSS Program. The agreement resolves the dispute between the State and plaintiffs in the Oster v. Lightbourne and Dominguez v. Schwarzenegger lawsuits.
“This is an example of all sides coming together for the good of the people we serve,” said CDSS Director Will Lightbourne.
March 18, 2013 (City Heights) -- Crawford High School student Terrance Hall said he doesn't always have bus fare and has to walk 18 blocks to get to school. Over 400 students in the Center City area alone take the bus to school every day at a cost of $5.00 per day or a regional monthly bus pass of up to $72.00.
School Superintendent Richard Barrera reported that for four years he has been asking Mayor Jerry Sanders to do something to relieve students and parents alike of this unfair burden only to have his request fall on deaf ears. However the election of Bob Filner as San Diego’s new Mayor changed all that.
Saturday morning, the Improving Transportation in City Heights (ITCH) held a press conference to witness the signing of a pledge to provide students free transportation on the city owned transit system.
March 15, 2013 (San Diego)--The Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, through the generous donation of Altman Plants, donated approximately 900 warm weather vegetable and herb plants for teachers and their school gardens across San Diego County on Thursday, March 14th. One hundred and forty-five schools, preschools, and youth programs participated.
March 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Despite the many perpetual controversies surrounding the Catholic Church, Islam, Scientology, and other religions, I am not opposed to organized religion. In fact, religion as a whole fascinates me. I have a lot of family and very good friends (some of them practically family) who have found peace, happiness, and spiritual and mental well-being from it. Religion has been a major part of the human race, and it’s had an effect on world history, philosophy, literature, art, and everything else. That’s why, as part of my overall plan to improve myself as a person through self-education about the aforementioned subjects and more, I’ve had a desire to learn about the various religions practiced in the world.
Nearly 8,000 homeowners invited to free event to receive modifications on the spot
March 19, 2013 (San Diego)— Wells Fargo & Company is hosting a free Home Preservation Workshop for Southern California Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wells Fargo Financial, and Wells Fargo Home Equity customers – including military service members and veterans – facing financial hardships. Wells Fargo has invited nearly 8,000 mortgage customers to the free workshop which will be held on Thursday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the San Diego Convention Center – Hall F located at 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego. Parking at the San Diego Convention Center for the workshop is free.
March 18, 2013 – A man armed with a gun robbed the USA Gas Station located at 7594 University Avenue in La Mesa shortly after midnight March 17, 2013. The suspect entered the store, displayed a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash. After the clerk complied, the suspect left the store on foot in an unknown direction. Officers searched the surrounding areas but were unable to locate the suspect.
The suspect is described as a black male adult in his 30s, approximately 5’10 tall, 200 lbs, wearing a white shirt, dark pants, and a black baseball cap. The suspect also wore a white bandana covering the lower portion of his face.
March 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Sycuan Casino in El Cajon has agreed to serve as presenting sponsor of the 12th annual San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) fundraiser and party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Ivy Rooftop Lounge atop the Andaz San Diego, 600 “F” St., in the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego.
SAFE is a volunteer, non-profit organization (501c3) that provides confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency. The fundraiser will feature food, networking, entertainment and a silent auction to benefit SAFE grant recipients. Cost to attend is $50 per person, $30 per person for students, or $70 per person at the door. For tickets and more information, visit www.aboutsafe.org.
March 18, 2013 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee has issued the following statement on the passage of HR 9, a resolution he co-authored that outlines the many characteristics of California’s historic vineyards and their vast contribution to the agricultural legacy of the state:
“Almost 250 years ago, Father Junipero Serra planted grapes at Mission San Diego, and since that time, historic vineyards have grown throughout the state – from northern California and the Central Coast to our own Ramona, Alpine and Riverside County’s Temecula Valley,” said Jones. “I am proud the 71st Assembly District is home to such beautiful and diverse grape growing areas – each of which has achieved worldwide recognition and contributes greatly to our local economy. I am very pleased the Assembly took the time to recognize the extraordinary contribution of our living historic vineyards to the agricultural and social heritage of the state as well as to the enjoyment of wine enthusiasts throughout California and the world.”
March 18, 2013 (San Diego) – The Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties has named San Diego regional publishers Diana and Lowell Lindsay as the recipient of their Media Award at their 2013 History Conference held this year in Vista, California. The award was given in recognition of their contributions to the preservation of “The History of this Region” through their publishing house, Sunbelt Publications, located in El Cajon.
The Media Award was one of several awards made during this year’s conference. The awards are given to individuals, organizations, and programs that have made significant contributions to the preservation and development of the regional history of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Baja, California, Mexico.
March 18, 2013 (Sacramento) – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has proclaimed Women Veterans History Week in California, March 18-24, 2013 to honor their courage and sacrifice in defense of our nation.
“Currently, women make up 14% of the active duty U.S. Armed Forces and 18% of the Guard and Reserves. Women also make up 8 percent of the total U.S. veterans population and 10 percent of the veterans population in California,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “Nationally and statewide, the women veteran population will continue to grow. Therefore, it is imperative that we remember to recognize and honor their service and contributions, as they often face unique challenges when transitioning out of the military and back into our communities.”
March 18, 2013 (Lemon Grove) -- Lemon Grove Academy hosts its first Underage Drinking Forum for parents and students. Phil Hubbs, from the Proactive Network Against Substance Abuse (PRONASA), will be presenting information to parents about current drug and alcohol trends among youth. Additional speakers include: M.A.D.D., Friday Night Live, Lemon Grove Academy parents and students.
Students will participate in break-out sessions with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and Friday Night Live to learn about the dangers of drugs and underage drinking. Families are invited to arrive at 5:30 p.m. for a complimentary dinner before presentations begin. The event will be held at the Lemon Grove Academy, 7866 Lincoln Street, on Thursday, March 21 with dinner at 5:30 and presentations from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
March 19, 2013 (La Mesa)--It all started 30 years ago when a resident of a home for seniors spoke wistfully about the lack of music. His son took the complaint to heart and the Friendship Connection, a group of local singers and musicians, was born. They are still going strong today, performing at convalescent hospitals, senior residences and nursing facilities each Tuesday evening, their songs tapping into the audience’s memories of years gone by with singing along encouraged.
On Sunday, April 7 their music – folk, gospel and oldies as well as more current songs – will fill Friendship Hall at the United Church of Christ of La Mesa (UCCLM) at a fundraiser dinner and concert benefitting the church’s Chancel Choir.
March 20, 2013 (El Cajon) – Amikas is a San Diego-based nonprofit that seeks to create housing and help for homeless families and individuals, as well as prevent those living below the poverty level from becoming homeless by offering educational, employment and support programs. The group encourages citizen involvement to assure that others have food, shelter and other necessities.
On March 21, the Executive Director of Amikas, Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, will speak at the East County Democratic Club meeting in El Cajon. The event is free and open to the public.
March 18, 2013 (San Diego) – For weeks, rumors have abounded that the respected Los Angeles Times newspaper and its parent Tribune Company may sell to would-be buyers whose goal is not journalism, but propaganda. On March 17, U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester told MSNBC news that the billionaire Koch Brothers, major financial backers of the TEA Party, are interested in buying the Times empire, which includes the Chicago Tribune as well as the L.A. Times.
March 18, 2013 (Washington)--Two San Diego Congressional members, Democrats Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, joined 131 colleagues in introducing legislation to give minimum-wage workers a raise. Both are cosponsors the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, increase the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips, and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation.
“Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said. “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most. Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raise.”
March 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Shirley Frantum, 51, of Upland was riding her Harley Davidson east on Highway 78 on March 16 when she entered a curve east of San Felipe Road. She was struck by a Hyundai Sonata driven by Matthew Hon, 20, from Murrieta.
“According to witness statements, the Hyundai and the motorcycle entered the curve at approximately the same time. The driver of the motorcycle was traveling on the double yellow lines," said Officer Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. “ The Hyundai was driving close to the yellow lines, but still within the westbound lane.”
March 18, 2013 (Santee) – Matthew T. Leonardo, 30, of Santee has been identified by the Medical Examiner as the driver killed last night in a head-on collision on State Route 52 near Santo Road at 9:08 p.m.. The crash also seriously injured a Spring Valley woman, Alisa Cunningham, and her three children in the vehicle struck by Leonardo.
According to California Highway Patrol, he was driving a 2012 Ford Focus when he entered the freeway heading the wrong way, traveling west in the eastbound lane at a reported speed of 65-70 mph.
March 20, 2013 (San Diego) – The Society of Professional Journalists will honor Terry Francke of Californians Aware (CalAware) with SPJ’s Sunshine Award for his efforts over many years. The award will be presented on March 27 at 6:30 at the 501 West Broadway office of Sheppard Mullin on the buildings 19th floor.
Francke, currently general counsel for Californians Aware, has a 31-year history of helping journalists, citizens and public officials understand and use their First Amendment and open government rights.
March 18, 2013 (El Cajon)--An East County resident is participating in the Coronado Public Library’s “Art through the Generations” exhibit, scheduled from March 1through May 31. Dolores Bridges Mote, of El Cajon, is among eight artists linked through public education and their teacher, Esther Painter Hagstrom.
Hagstrom taught art at Coronado High School from 1939 until her death in 1951. Some of her watercolors and etchings will be displayed with the works of her students who went on to become accomplished artists.
March 20, 2012 (San Diego)--Sarka-Jonae Miller's debut novel set in San Diego achieved what few self-published books accomplish: a spot on a best seller list. Miller's novel, Between Boyfriends, appeared on three Amazon best seller lists last month, including #9 for humorous fiction, #11 for humor ebooks and #54 for women's fiction.
To celebrate, Miller is gifting 22 copies of the Kindle version of her book that she will personalize through Authorgraph.com. The Kindle book is readable on any computer, tablet or smartphone using a free app. Winners will be selected on March 22, and also receive a download of Taylor Swift's hit song “22.”
March 17, 2013 (Alpine)--You're invited to the Viejas Casino Hotel Grand Opening on March 23 at 8 p.m. Join the grand opening weekend VIP party and the world premiere of "Rise." A 30-minute cirque experience specially commissioned for the occasion, this breathtaking exhibition of artistry and acrobatics could only be followed by one thing-fireworks.
Stick around after the show and take in an incredible display that will literally ring in Viejas Hotel's Grand Opening with a bang.