TOWN HALL MEETING IN PINE VALLEY AUG. 2 OVER WATER DISTRICT'S MURKY ACTIONS

San Diego news, California news, California, San Diego, East County news

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JULY 28 - AUG. 14

TRES: CABARET STYLE SHOW PREMIERS AUG. 14 AT VISIONARY PERFORMANCE SPACE

VISIONARY THEATRE GROUP SEEKS HELP TO MOVE – AND GIVE STUDIO SPACE TO EAST COUNT MAGAZINE

PROGRESS MADE ON CUTCA FIRE AT PALOMAR

PETITION LAUNCHED TO SAVE LAND PHONE LINES IN CA AND ACROSS THE U.S.

MARINE RECONNAISSANCE FOUNDATION 1ST ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT SEPT. 11 IN POWAY

NIGHT CREWS BATTLE FIRE ON PALOMAR MOUNTAIN

STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED FOR SAN DIEGO AND FOUR OTHER COUNTIES DUE TO STORM DAMAGE

BRUSH FIRE AT LAKE MORENA

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS JULY 24-AUGUST 9

PUBLIC RECORDS REVEAL EASTERN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT FRONTING SAN DIEGO PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN FOR METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT

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Riverside County water agency sued for refusing to release public records

January 24, 2013 (San Diego)--Public records show the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County is funding a $15,000-per-month public relations campaign in San Diego County on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

While limited information was provided under the California Public Records Act, Eastern water district officials redacted key information and refused to release all records to the public, forcing the San Diego County Water Authority to file a lawsuit on January 22 to obtain the records.

JACUMBA SCHOOL AWARDED $5,000 GRANT FROM SDG&E

 

January 24, 2013 (Jacumba)--Jacumba Middle School, received an unexpected holiday grant from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to help fund experiential learning tied to STEM (an acronym for studies in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  STEM related programs have become a Presidential priority because too few students are pursuing degrees in these fields.

WHERE IS THE WIND? GOVERNMENT, SDG&E & PATTERN ENERGY REFUSE TO PROVIDE RECORDS ON ENERGY PRODUCED AT OCOTILLO

An ECM special investigative report:

Serious questions raised over industry claims on wind production here and around the world

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and videos by Jim Pelley

January 23, 2013 (Ocotillo) – Since taxpayer dollars were used to fund the destruction of public lands for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility, why won’t the federal government tell us how much power the project is producing?

Engineer and award-winning photojournalist Jim Pelley lives in Ocotillo.   A series of videos shot nearly each day since the wind project went online December 5, 2012 raises serious questions.  Turbines are not  turning , or scarcely moving,  in nearly all of the videos shot in December and January.  Wind speed readings and weather reports further suggest wind speed measurements are far below the minimum needed for the project to produce any power at all—let alone the levels claimed by developer Pattern Energy.

When the project went online December 5, Pattern claimed that with wind forecasts looking “favorable” it expected to power more than 125,000 homes. http://news.yahoo.com/video/controversial-ocotillo-wind-farm-goes-025000610.html.  But Ocotillo residents have long voiced concerns that their area lacks sustained strong winds needed to power the massive, controversial wind project on public lands that has been opposed by tribes, environmental groups and most residents.

After viewing videos bolstering concerns over lack of wind, East County Magazine sought public records to learn how much power has been produced.  The shocking result?  Federal and state authorities claim they don't know--and further, that public officials and the public have no right to find out.

CA NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION ISSUES REPORT BACKING VIEJAS AND QUECHAN CLAIMS OF OCOTOILLO WIND SITE HARM TO SACRED SITES

 

Commission urges CA Attorney General to file suit if mitigation requests not met

Update February 12, 2013: A hearing set for February 15 in San Diego has been postponed.

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2013 (Ocotillo ) – The California Native American Heritage Commission (CNAH) has issued a report in support of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and the Quechan Indian Nation claims that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources including human remains and sacred sites at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.  The draf staff report details a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources.

The tribes petitioned the NAHC to investigate and conduct a public hearing to consider tribal requests to declare the entire 12,500 acre site a ‘sanctified cemetery’.  Tribes also seek to have the project halted to assess damage and want agencies to consult with tribes to agree on mitigation measures to prevent further harm to a broader region. The case has broad national significance, with hundreds of millions of acres of public lands slated for renewable energy projects.

The NAHC has cancelled a Public Hearing that had been scheduled at the State of California Building on Front Street in Downtown San Diego for February 15, offering no explanation for the indefinite postponement.

COMMUNITY MEETING JAN. 24 ON INDUSTRIAL ENERGY PROJECTS PROPOSED IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2013 (Boulevard) – Two nonprofit groups, Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps, will convene a community meeting Thursday, January 24, 2013 to inform residents about planned industrial conversation of Boulevard and surrounding areas.  A dozen or so big energy corporations—most from outside the region--seek to push through zoning changes to allow massive projects that would forever transform this now-rural area. 

“Learn about the many industrial scale wind, solar, and related transmission line projects planned in and around our residential neighborhoods (on public, private, and tribal lands), adversely impacting many homes,” a flyer for the event states, “and what you can do to help protect and defend your family, your property, your future.”

The meeting will be held at the Boulevard Fire Station Equipment Bay, 39923 Ribbonwood Road, Boulevard 91905 (northeast corner of Old Highway 80 and Ribbonwood Road) from 7 to 9 p.m. on January 24.

EAST COUNTY MOVERS AND SHAKERS TURN OUT FOR PEOPLE’S BALL TO SUPPORT KNSJ RADIO

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Melody Ponchot and Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2013 (San Diego) – Community members , activists and political leaders from across East County were among hundreds in attendance at the People’s Ball Saturday night at the World Beat Center.  The event raised over $4,000 that will be matched by an anonymous donor, leaving just $5,000 left to raise for a transmitter to put KNSJ radio on the air in East County.

Prominent East County residents in attendance included Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil, Boulevard Planning Group member Melody Ponchot, and Ben Kalasho, who narrowly missed winning his race for El Cajon Council.  Musicians, artists, and groups ranging from human rights advocates to Green Party members also turned out to support KNSJ, which will reach portions of San Diego in addition to a vast area in East County.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

January 24, 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:

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

WORLD

HEALTH/SCIENCE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

WANTED: ATM ROBBERY SUSPECT IN SANTEE AND RANCHO SAN DIEGO

January 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Take a good look at these surveillance photos. This man is wanted in connection with three ATM robberies in Santee.

The first incident happened January 16th just before 11:00 p.m. Armed with a gun, he approached a man at a Mission Federal Credit Union ATM on Town Center Parkway and demanded money. The second incident happened on January 21st at the same location. He approached a woman and placed a hand into his waistband simulating he had a weapon. The woman ran to her car and the suspect drove away. The third incident happened on the same day at a Wells Fargo ATM on Jamacha Road in unincorporated El Cajon. He had a gun and approached a man demanding money. He then grabbed the money and drove away.

BODY FOUND IN BURNED TRUCK IN VALLECITO PARK

January 23, 2013 (Borrego Springs) – Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a body found inside a burned truck in Vallecito County Regional Park. 

A County park ranger made the grisly discovery yesterday around 10 a.m. in the park, located at 37349 County Route S-2 (Great Southern Overland State Route) in Borrego Springs, Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Cause and manner of death, as well as identification of the deceased will be determined by the County Medical Examiner.

If you have information on this death, call the Homicide Detail at (858)974-2321/after hours at  (858) 565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS (8477).

WHERE IS THE WIND? VIDEO LINKS SUGGEST OCOTILLO WIND FARM IS UNDER-PERFORMING

By Miriam Raftery

View our full investigative report here. 

January 23, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Videos shot by award winning photojournalist and engineer Jim Pelley suggest that the Ocotillo Wind Express Facility is thus far not living up to projects made by Pattern Energy, which claimed in early December that "with wind forecasts looking favorable" it expected to power 125,000 homes, News 8 reported.

It takes sustained winds of 8 to 10 mph before wind turbines are productive.  Thus far there is little evidence of any such sustained wind speeds in Ocotillo during the first seven weeks of the wind facility's operations--not even on a day when high winds were forcecast for the region.  View videos below.  Such underperformance is not unusual, an ECM investigation has found.  Watch for more details soon.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL JANUARY 24-28

 

January 22, 2013 (San Diego) – The Museum of Photographic Arts, in community partnership with Survivors of Torture, International, The IRC, and other community partners is hosting the third year of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in San Diego from Jan. 22 – 28 at 1649 El Prado, San Diego.  This film event has been described by the New York Times as the “cinematic conscience of the world.”

HEATING, VENTILATION AND AIR CONDITIONING MYTHS VS. FACTS

 By Colin Martodam, General Manager of ARS (www.arssandiego.com)  

January 22, 2013 (San Diego County) -- If you’ve been told that closing air vents in unused rooms in your home will allow faster or more concentrated airflow into other rooms, or that leaving your ceiling fan on while you’re not home will help cool the house faster, you’ve fallen victim to two of the many heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) myths. ARS, an award-winning residential heating and air conditioning company, is here to educate you on common heating, ventilation and air conditioning myths so you can stop wasting energy and start saving money.

LEASH YOUR FITNESS ANNOUNCES NEW WORKOUT SERIES FOR OWNERS AND THEIR DOGS

January 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Leash Your Fitness, announces a six-week series of fitness challenges to help you get in shape after the holidays—while getting a workout for your dog, too.

“Our first three challenges were very successful for all of the participants,” said founder Dawn Celapino, whose motto is “Life is short! Exercise with your dog.”  The kick-off to the Fitness Challenge will be held at Marking Pet Resort on Sunday, January 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The program runs for 6 weeks and is an online program open to anyone who wants to participate.

ARE STUDENTS UNPREPARED FOR COLLEGE?

 

January 22, 2012  (San Diego)--After finding recent studies showing that one in four freshmen in the U.S. do not complete their first year of college, despite giving college a try, a team at CollegeAtHome.com decided to create an infographic that would show some of the reasons why.

Is it possible that high school students simply do not have a realistic idea of what college is actually like? Also, it may be possible that many of these students simply don’t see the point of staying in college due to the slow job market.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES BORREGO GROUNDWATER ORDINANCE AND AGREEMENT ON GROUNDWATER OVERDRAFT

Board directs action to plan long-term for the ground water’s sustainability

By Janis Mork

January 21, 2013 (San Diego)- At the January 9th meeting of the San Diego Board of Supervisors, all five Supervisors voted to direct the chief administrative officer to work with Borrego Water District to design a plan to address the long-term sustainability of  groundwater in the Borrego Valley and to report back with a potential recommendation.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS ANNOUNCED BY SHARP GROSSMONT

January 22, 2013 (La Mesa) -- The Senior Resource Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa offers free or low-cost educational programs and health screenings each month. The Senior Resource Center also provides information and assistance for health information and community resources. For more information, call 619-740-4214. For other programs, call 1-800-827-4277 or visit their web site at www.sharp.com.

EAST COUNTY WOMEN WIN TOP TWO ART AWARDS

January 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Joan McKasson and Joan Merrick were awarded first and second places respectively in the San Diego Watercolor Society’s January show “New Beginnings”. The juror, Carol Mansfield, complimented both paintings for their expert use of watercolor along with their strong colors and designs.

FEDERAL JUDGE HEARS QUECHAN TRIBE’S CASE ON OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT HARM TO SACRED SITES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2013 (San Diego) – On Friday, January 18, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Quechan tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation against the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management, as well as Pattern Energy and other defendants.

The suit contends that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources, including sacred sites, when it allowed the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility to be built. Moreover, Quechan contends that the federal government's reclassification of protected lands to accommodate the wind project was arbitrary--and that a similar decision to industrialize almost any public lands regardless of damage to resources could be done if the government's action is allowed to stand. 

ACTIVE EAGLE NEST REMOVED TO MAKE WAY FOR WIND FARM

 

Similar fate could await eagles in path of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project in East County

By Miriam Raftery

January 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Wildlife protection groups and residents have reacted in horror to the removal of an active bald eagle nest by a wind developer in Canada, an event documented on video January 5, just weeks after a photo of the active pair was taken at the site.

Now ECM has learned that the environmental documents filed by Iberdrola Renewables for its Tule Wind project in McCain Valley would allow SDG&E to “remove all existing raptor nests” prior to construction.

SUPERVISORS WEIGH PLAN TO ADDRESS BORREGO WATER SHORTAGE

By Janis Mork

January 11, 2013 (San Diego)- On January 9, San Diego Supervisors unanimously agreed to direct the chief administrative officer to work with Borrego Water District to design a plan to address long-term sustainability of groundwater in the Borrego Valley and to report back with potential recommendations.

The ordinance states that “groundwater is being pumped at rates that exceed natural replenishment. This situation referred to as an ‘overdraft condition’ has existed for several decades…. It is the cumulative impact of all users that has resulted in this condition.” An amendment has been proposed to the Groundwater Ordinance to require that private projects fully offset their water use.

At the meeting, a first reading of the groundwater ordinance amendment was read. On January 30, it will be read for a second time and be considered for adoption for the board.

COUNCILMEMBERS GASTIL & VASQUEZ REPRESENT LEMON GROVE AT THE 33RD ANNUAL MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PARADE

 

January 21, 2013 (Lemon Grove) -- City Council Members George Gastil and Racquel Vasquez represented Lemon Grove at the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, honoring the late civil rights activist.

Thousands of spectators lined the parade route on Harbor Drive, from the County Administration Building to the Midway Museum, to see more than 60 community groups, marching bands, and government organizations from throughout the country participate in the event.

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD TO CONSIDER RESOLUTION JAN. 22 TO OPPOSE RESTARTING OF SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR REACTOR

Update January 23: The board passed this resolution, joining several Coastal City Councils in calling for an adjudicated license amendment hearing by the NRC

January 21, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego Unified School District Board Vice President, Kevin Beiser and Board Member Richard Barrera are introducing a Resolution (Agenda Item H.1) similar to that passed by the Del Mar City Council last fall, calling for an adjudicated license amendment process by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the restart of the defective San Onofre nuclear reactor proposed by Southern California Edison. Eight and half million people live within the 50-mile potential evacuation radius around San Onofre. The action will be considered Tuesday January 22 at 5 p.m.; a press conference will be held at 4 p.m. Details below.

According to SDUSD Board Vice President Beiser, “The Board of Education of the San Diego Unified School District is considering this Resolution because restarting the defective Unit 2 nuclear reactor at San Onofre will have profound impacts on our children in San Diego Unified and the surrounding communities in the event of a nuclear accident regarding radiation contamination of air, water and food, evacuation plans, and long term viability of life in Southern California.”

CALIFORNIA SENATORS AND SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS WEIGH IN ON GUN VIOLENCE PROPOSALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 20,2013 (San Diego)—Both of California’s U.S. Senators are strongly supporting actions to restrict assault weapons and protect the public from mass shootings, though members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation are divided in their views toward President Barack Obama’s plan for reducing gun violence.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) has confirmed she intends to introduce legislation to reinstate a ban on assault weapons this week. A U.S. Department of Justice study found the prior assault weapons ban authored by Feinstein resulted in a 6.7 percent drop in the murder rate nationwide. Find details at http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM

January 21, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- "America’s possibilities are limitless," President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address, "for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together."

View a video of the inaugural speech and find the full text at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/21/second-inauguration-barack-obama. The nation's first African-American president was sworn in for his second term of office as the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.  

MASKED MEN ROB VICTIM AT GUNPOINT IN COLLEGE AREA

Detailed descriptions of suspects and vehicles including partial license plate

January 20, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego State University Police have issued a crime alert to warn students of an armed robbery that occurred at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the 5400 block of 55th Street.  According to campus police, the victim was approached by six suspects armed with handguns who demanded the victim’s property.

Five suspects were African-American adults, four wearing ski masks. They left the scene in a Grey Dodge Challenger with partial CA license plate of X354.  The sixth suspect was a white male adult, six feet four inches tall, wearing a white baseball cap and grey basketball shorts. He left in a silver Chrysler 300.

BORDER PATROL BRIEFS RESIDENTS ON THREATS TO EAST COUNTY

By Nadin Abbott
 
January 17, 2013 (Alpine) -- The United States Border Patrol came to Alpine to speak with residents about progress made in securing the border and to hear residents’ concerns.  More forums are planned. 
 
Paul Beeson, Chief Patrol Agent in the San Diego Region, said the sector comprises 60 miles of border, from the ocean to El Centro in Imperial County. There are six border patrol stations, which roughly are responsible for 10 miles of border each. 

AWEA CONFERENCE ADDRESSES WIND SITING ISSUES IN THE WEST

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jim Pelley (red-tailed hawk at Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility)

January 20, 2013 (San Diego) – Wind power is now the second largest contributor to “green” energy generation in California, with 75,000 Gigawatts produced to date.  California is on track to meet its ambitious target for a 33% renewable portfolio by 2020, according to Karen Douglas, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. (CEC).   But at what cost to wildlife and the environment? 

Balancing environmental concerns vs. the quest to build mega-energy projects to address climate change is a key challenge facing the wind industry--and a hot topic during a panel titled "Building WInd in the West: Overcoming Siting Issues" at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) conference in San Diego last week.

Douglas’ statement was read by a moderator, due to a last-minute conflict in Sacramento that prevented her attendance. Douglas also addressed the Desert  Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) covering 22 million acres, calling for streamlining of permits to enable development of energy projects including 200,000 to 350,000 acres in San Diego and Imperial Counties.   

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