September 1, 2014 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is continuing to alert customers to be aware of an ongoing wire fraud that has been targeting SDG&E residential and business customers. Reports indicate that individuals are misrepresenting themselves as utility employees by calling customers and threatening to turn off electric and gas service if an immediate payment is not made. Customers are instructed to purchase a pre-pay credit/debit card, and are directed to call another phone number where information is then obtained from the card and the cash value is then removed.
September 1, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - You hear the term, but you don't know what it really means. Why are some grapes called Bordeaux grapes, if what I drink is from California? And why are they sometimes called vinifera or Vitis vinifera and why are they connected to each other? What is a cultivar, or a Bordeaux grape?
September 1, 2014 (San Diego) - Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)--has four measure that she authored now on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature. The measures address medical and education issues, rights of homeowners, and protection for peace officers injured in the line of duty.
September 1, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – Two former investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are speaking out to say that the federal government is ignoring harm to wildlife caused by industrial scale wind and solar facilities.
August 30, 2014 (Alpine) – Author Carlette Anderson will share stories and artifacts from the Alpine Woman’s Club’s 100-year history during the group’s meeting on Thursday, September 11th at 6 p.m. in the Alpine Library, 2140 Arnold Way in Alpine.
August 30, 2014 (El Cajon)--There's always been a steady assault by religious groups of all stripes, on the separation of church and state, but what El Cajon doesn't need is for the City Council to initiate such activity as in its proposed contract with the "Rock Church" (do they worship rocks?) for the utilization of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) for religious purposes. The Council cannot dodge the issue of the church/state violation when it agrees to allow a church to utilize 'public property' for what is clearly religious purposes. Included in this agreement is the proposed erection of an additional building on 'public property' to serve the needs of this religious group, with the generous proviso that the building would revert to the city at the end of its use by the religious group.
Photo: View of Oak Creek/Boulder Creek area taken by Cynthia Burnham from her home, where she reports seeing an SDG&E helicopter hovering "very low" for at least 10 minutes.
An open letter sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, U.S. Forest Service/Cleveland National Forest, Congressman Duncan Hunter and Supervisor Dianne Jacob:
By Cindy Buxton
Dear CPUC, Foresters, Congressmen, and Supervisors:
August 31, 2014 (Boulder Creek)--Several residences and visitors to the Cleveland National Forest lately between Descanso and Julian in the Boulder Creek area have complained about low flying helicopters. These were seen hovering over people's back yards by only a few hundred feet. Subsequently we are to learn in the East County Magazine that several other residences identified the helicopters belonging to SDG&E, also experienced this to the point that horses were so frightened that they were injured. One of the helicopters seen by several residences along Boulder Creek Road had a visible camera on the front and apparently was not necessarily in line with the ROW (right of way) for the TL626 line.
August 30, 2014 (Lakeside)—An 18-year-old Lakeside man, Christian Nee, died August 17th shortly after his motorbike struck the rear of a truck on Sunview Drive in EL Cajon. He was taken by ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where despite aggressive medical intervention, he died shortly after arrival, of injuries to his head and torso, the Medical Examiner’s office reports.
August 30, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—Two agave roasting pits found recently in Jacumba Hot Springs have been carbon-dated, indicating Kumeyaay Native American occupation in the Jacumba region dates back at least 9,000 years. Termed “an astounding recent archaeological find” by the Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo, the agave roasting pits were unearthed during construction of SDG&E’s ECO substation project in San Diego’s East County.
Howard Cook, chair of Jacumba Hot Springs Sponsor Group (the town's advisory planning board) believes the find should have impacts on future develoment projects pending in the area.
“This is highly relevant to the proposed Jacumba Solar project located next door and sharing roads with the under construction Eco project,” he told East County Magazine. “Certainly this calls for a cultural monitor and perhaps some preliminary excavating of the proposed site by [an] historical society and Native American historical/cultural experts."
August 30, 2014 (Lakeside) – Leon Thompson shot this tranquil shot of a sunset over the San Vicente Reservoir, with water level higher than in the past due to the largest dam height raising in America.
August 29, 2014 (San Diego)--It appears the California Grape Crush came crashing in a bit early and un-expectantly for the Napa wine region. On the eve of the 2014 harvest, Napa and Napa Valley wineries were rocked by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in the early hours of Sunday morning. The quake injured over 100 people, but fortunately claimed no lives says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Napa’s Resiliency is to be commended, however, a good reminder for all of us to be prepared… Coincidentally, September is National Wine Awareness Month and wine has become so vital to California, that it deserves a whole month.
Photo: Wind turbines in Ocotillo dwarf resident and mountains surrounding the desert town
By Miriam Raftery
August 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Jim Avery, a senior vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric Company, says the utility will meet California’s 33% renewable energy goal by the end of 2014 – six years ahead of schedule, IT San Diego reports.
August 30, 2014 (Sacramento) – Plastic accounts for 90% of all floating debris in the ocean. This has negatively impacted over 250 species and puts petroleum-based chemicals into our food chain. Many bags wind up in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the north Pacific Ocean that has been estimated to measure hundreds of thousands, even millions of square miles. Whales, dolphins and sea turtles choke by swallowing plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish prey. Bags can also become entangled around an animal’s neck.
August 30, 2014 (Sacramento) – Just in time for Labor Day, a bill to protect temporary workers, AB 1897, has passed the Legislature and is now on the Governor’s Desk.
Increasingly companies are relying on long-term use of temporary workers even for strenuous and dangerous jobs, and some have reportedly been cheated out of wages.A report by ProPublica found that in California, temporary workers face a 50 percent higher risk of being injured on the job than permanent employees. Subcontracted workers have no guarantee of future work and risk punishment for speaking out or reporting hazardous conditions--problems this measure aims to correct.
The bill has support of labor groups and opposition from large employers.
August 30, 2014 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino & Resort will attempt to launch the world’s longest chain of fireworks—more than 10,000 – to celebrates its 23rd anniversary on Friday, September 12th at 8 p.m. You’re invited to the festivities near the Viejas Hotel pool to witness the sky come alive with fireworks during this Guinness Book of World Records setting attempt.
August 30, 2014 (Julian) – For the 45th year, Julian celebrates the end of summer with music. The Julian Music Festival will be held at the Menghini Winery on September 20th from 1 to 8 p.m. This year’s event features bluegrass to celebrate the festival’s roots, Western ballads to remember the past, as well as music by current songwriters and singers.
Performers slated to appear include singer/songwriter Melanie Devaney, guitarist/singer Steve Ybarra, Cool Band Luke performing high energy favorites, and Trails and Rails performing train songs, cowboy tunes, pop, swing, vocal harmonies and whistling.
August 29, 2014 (San Diego) - Activist San Diego (ASD), a coalition of community organizations, in an effort to keep the issue of lives lost at the hands of law enforcement, will have a rally at the City Heights Performance Annex in San Diego. As will many other such rallies throughout the country, the rally will be in remembrance of Mike Brown and the town of Ferguson, Missouri.
August 29, 2014 (El Cajon)--Built in 1876 by Amaziah Lord Knox, this structure was a hotel and residence combined. It was located near what is now Main St. & Magnolia Avenue in downtown El Cajon. The place provided a comfortable place for weary travelers to spend the night when traversing back and forth from the Julian gold mines to San Diego.
August 29, 2014 (El Cajon)—You and your neighbors are invited to discuss access to safe, efficient and affordable transportation options. What are your transportation needs and priorities? How can you influence transportation planning decisions?
A community meeting on these issues is planned for Tuesday, September 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Prescott Promenade Park, 201 East Main Street in El Cajon. Dinner will be provided and Spanish translation is available. (View flyer) This event is organized by a coalition that includes the Environmental Health Coalition, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, MAAC, and City Heights Community Development Corporation. The groups observe that transportation justice increases transportation access, improves public health and safety, and ensures equity for all.
In addition, a petition has been launched calling on local elected officials and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to support transportation justice and adopt a regional transportation plant that:
August 29, 2014 (Descanso) –A helicopter chartered by San Diego Gas & Electric Company to survey lines in Descanso was flying below the legal height limit on Wednesday, startling a horse that was injured as a result, says owner Rita Gallant.
Tim Garland, a ferrier who works for Garland, was shoeing horses on her property and called Gallant to report that horses were being spooked by the low-flying chopper.
“He said, `You’ve got this helicopter hovering above your property. It’s right at the top of your gate and your horses are going crazy,” Gallant told East County Magazine. She added that Garland told her the helicopter was just 150 to 200 feet above the gate—close enough to get a good look at the pilot. Anything under 1,000 feet would be illegal, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
August 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--Two security officers caught on video beating a passenger on a trolley in La Mesa on August 18th have lost their jobs, Transit Systems Security has informed Metropolitan Transit System. MTS contracts with TSS to provide security services on trolleys and busses countywide.
“This incident never should have happened and we will take all appropriate steps internally and with TSS to help prevent future occurrences,” said MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski in reference to the altercation between a passenger and two TSS security officers. “We do not tolerate that kind of behavior.”
August 29,2014 (El Cajon) – Maintaining many miles of power lines is a time-consuming task. Robert Gehr documented what’s involved on August 23, when San Diego Gas & Electric technicians replaced an electrical pole and transformer on west Park Avenue in El Cajon with photos and notes below.
August 29, 2014 (Descanso)--Our Lady of Light Catholic Church in Descanso will hold its 77th Annual Deep Pit Barbecue on Sunday August 31st of the Labor Day weekend. The Festivities will start at 11 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m.
The barbecue has been a major event of the mountain empire area since before World War II. It will be held on the Church grounds on Riverside drive in Descanso.
August 28, 2014 (Ramona) -- Being an animal whisperer is not magic. It is a combination of common sense and tapping into an energy or even spiritual connection that a lucky few have with animals. Gil and Nancy Riegler, owners of the Oasis Dairy Camel Farm in Ramona, have had a special bond with animals since they were young, and it has grown over their many years of working and learning about them.