Columns

Recurring Columns

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: AFTER THE ELECTION...

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

November 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Is it really over? I’ve lived with the 2012 Presidential campaign for so long that it’s become a fixture of my life, sort of like a piece of ugly furniture you never sit on anymore but you can’t bear to get rid of.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: NATURAL GAS/HEATER SAFETY

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna 

November 18, 2012 (San Diego)--As temperatures cool down, home heating use goes up. It’s important for homeowners and renters to inspect their home-heating appliances and perform any maintenance necessary to avoid any health or safety hazards.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: STAND TALL AND DELIVER (LINCOLN)

By Brian Lafferty

November 16, 2012 (San Diego) – Earlier this year I interviewed for a volunteer position.  The interviewer looked at my resume and asked, "What's your least favorite part of being a film critic?"  I was stumped.  My work at East County Magazine unites two of my biggest passions - movies and writing - and I love doing it so much that it never occurred to me there was something that I least enjoyed about it.

After months of reflection, I now have an answer.  Far too often I get bombarded with questions from family, friends, and colleagues like, "What did you think of so-and-so movie?"  Anyone who is familiar with me on a personal and professional level know that I am an infinitely better writer than a speaker.  If you read my writing and later met me in person, I guarantee you'd be amazed at the difference between my spoken words and my written words.  When I do oblige, usually all I can muster up is, "It was good," or, "I didn't like it.”

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: FIRE PREVENTION AND FLU PREVENTION

November 15, 2012 (San Diego) – Fire prevention and flu prevention stages?

We just changed our smoke detector batteries with daylight savings this weekend for fire preventive measures. Flu season is among us and like fire prevention, it’s important to take cold/flu preventive measures. Emergency rooms become saturated this time of year due to those with the flu. Unfortunately this may delay those that have significant health/medical issues or injuries from getting treatment quickly according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

BIRD TALK: RARE BIRDS IN EAST COUNTY

By Greg Dunne

November 15, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--We have our share of rare bird sightings now and then in our East County. The three I am going to talk about are the Greater White-Fronted Goose, the Nutmeg Mannikin, and the Vermilion Flycatcher. The Vermilion Flycatcher and the Nutmeg Mannikin are going to be the hardest to spot by the novice birder, but with any experience watching birds you should be able to see these uncommon visitors.  The Greater White-Footed Goose on the other hand can easily be seen any time of day at Lindo Lake.

RENO DISPATCH: WHAT DOES THIS ELECTION REALLY MEAN FOR VETERANS?

November 11, 2012 (San Diego) – Veterans Day is a day to remember and honor all American men and women who served our country. But this year, it's also a day to reflect on just what impact last week's election will have on America's 22 million veterans.

In his stirring victory speech late Tuesday night, President Obama passionately reminded the nation how important it is to support our warriors and their families. He reiterated that support today in a speech at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater, saying, "No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home."

Full column:  http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-does-this-election-really-mean-for.html

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: LICENSE TO THRILL (SKYFALL)

By Brian Lafferty

November 9, 2012 (San Diego) – Practically every commercial I saw for Skyfall emphasized the action sequences.  Not surprising, since studios throw all the best parts in the trailers and ads.  Here's some irony for you: MGM and Columbia only thought they included the best parts.  Audiences who watch the official trailer and the TV spots think they're getting a dark action movie.  Wrong.  Unlike such recent spy films as Salt - which are ninety-percent action and ten-percent espionage - Skyfall is ninety-percent spy film and ten-percent action…as a James Bond movie should be.

EARTHTALK® BURROWING OWL CONSERVATION NETWORK

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Dear EarthTalk: What is the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network and why is it so important to put so much effort into saving one species?                               -- Ginny Bateman, Portland, OR

November 9, 2012 (California) --  Western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are tiny, long-legged members of the owl family, native to the Americas and preferring open landscapes where they can dig new holes or use existing ones (such as abandoned prairie dog, skunk or armadillo homes) to nest and rear their young. Unlike most other owl species, these small but charismatic birds are more often seen out and about during daylight hours, but they are most active and do their primary feeding at night, preferring a diet of small rodents and large insects.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: BIGGERS WINNERS AND LOSERS—WHO WEREN’T ON THE BALLOT

By Buck Schott

November 9, 2012 (San Diego) –Some of the biggest winners and losers in this election weren’t candidates—though they’ll clearly be feeling the impacts of the election outcomes.

So who in town needs crying towels, and who should be popping champagne?  From our region’s not-so-influential media mogul to techie geeks who proved social media can help defeat special interests, here are our picks for the biggest post-election winners and losers:

EARTHTALK®: GROUNDWATER QUALITY

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Dear EarthTalk: What is currently being done in the U.S. to ensure the wise use and safety of our nation’s groundwater?    --Kevin Orr, Baton Rouge, LA

November 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Keeping fresh water safe and abundant is a challenge for all societies. In the U.S., about half of the country’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources. Many rural areas derive all of their drinking water from groundwater, which also provides 40 percent of the irrigation needs of American farmers. 

RENO DISPATCH: ONE QUESTION BEFORE YOU VOTE—WHO IS BETTER FOR VETERANS?

By Jamie Reno

Despite the fact that we have been a nation at war for more than a decade, sadly, and surprisingly, the plight of America's veterans has not by any measure been a front-burner issue in this presidential election. But it's not too late for you to make it one.

Full column:  http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/11/election-eve-question-wholl-be-better.html

MARKETING MATTERS: REVIEW AND REGROUP FOR 2013

Tips and Tricks for Business Success and Growth

By Rama Beerfas

November 3, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – As we approach the end of 2012, it is time to review the year's business successes, challenges and (dare I say it?) failures. If we want to make a difference to the growth opportunities we have available in 2013, then it is critical that we evaluate what worked, what didn't, and where we didn't pursue opportunities that we should have. From that assessment, we can develop a more informed plan for the coming year that will be more likely to succeed than a plan made from hopes, dreams and wishes.

EARTHTALK(R): ARCTIC SUMMER SEA ICE AT LOWEST LEVELS EVER RECORDED

November 3, 2012 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I heard that the Arctic summer sea ice is at its lowest level since we began recording it. What are the implications of all this melting?   -- Jo Shoemaker, Bowie, MD

It is true that on September 16, 2012 the world reached a new low: The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that the extent of sea ice across the Arctic was at its lowest since satellite record-keeping began in 1979. On that date the sea ice reached its summer minimum, 1.32 million square miles, half of what the average size of summer ice was between 1979 and 2000, and almost 20 percent lower than the previous record minimum of 1.61 million square miles set on Sept. 18, 2007. NSIDC added that, despite especially warm conditions in 2007 being much more favorable for sea ice loss than this year, the thinning of sea ice due to climate change has made the ice more vulnerable to breakup and melting.

WHAT IS DCA? THE REAL STORY BEHIND THIS ALTERNATIVE CANCER TREATMENT

By The Reno Dispatch Guest Blogger Martin C. Winer

November 3, 2012 (San Diego) -- One of the most devastating diagnoses a patient can receive is cancer, which can sometimes mean years of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery affecting the patient’s quality of life. As a result, patients often look to the Internet hoping to find an alternative that will restore their health with greater speed and fewer side effects.

A simple Internet search produces a plethora of results with great promises but little backing research. Separating the silver from the dross often requires a graduate degree, so typically, the patient, in frustration, brings a ream of printouts to his or her oncologist, who usually hasn’t heard of half of the remedies or at best rolls his or her eyes at them. 

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-is-dca-real-story-behin...

FROM THE CHIEFS CORNER: CHANGE YOUR CLOCKS—AND CHANGE YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR BATTERIES

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--It’s time to change our clocks this coming Sunday November 4th “back” for daylight savings and when we do that it’s a good time to change our smoke detector batteries and check their condition says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. Since most fatal fires occur at night, it’s essential that every home have working smoke alarms to provide an early warning.

LOOKING FOR FOREVER HOMES- SHELTER DOGS TO DREAM DOGS

October 30, 2012 (Alpine) -- Peanut is a mini-poodle; only 7 pounds at 7 months old and loves all people and dogs. His favorite thing to do is to be cradled in your arms like a baby, but is also game to play if you are. He bonds very closely and loves to follow me around outside or lie next to me while I work on my computer. He is quiet in his crate and a joy to have around! This adorable “ragamuffin” is a joy to train due to his wonderful, respectful listening skills.

EARTHTALK®: THE FRACKING CONTROVERSY

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

October 28, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: I have heard that fracking is becoming a major environmental issue in the U.S. Which parts of the country are already hosting fracking operations? Are there efforts underway to stop the practice in specific states or across the country?                             ­-- Jim Ross, Toronto, ON

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DAYS OF OUR PAST LIVES (CLOUD ATLAS)

By Brian Lafferty

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

October 26, 2012 (San Diego) – As my friend and I drove home after the Cloud Atlas screening, we at first didn’t know what to make of it.  It’s a very cerebral film, one that elicits comparisons to Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le Quattro Volte for its unconventional storytelling technique that leaves it up to the viewer’s interpretation, as well as its heavy reliance on cinematography.

COMMON CAUSE LAUNCHES EFFORT TO STOP VOTER SUPPRESSION IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Nadin Abbott

October 24, 2012 (San Diego)-- It is ironic. This morning ECM attended a press conference dealing with voting suppression, while nearby volunteers from both the Democratic and Republican Parties were getting ready to register newly minted citizens after their naturalization ceremonies.

The conference was called by State Senator Leeland Yee (D-8). He was joined by State Representative Marti Block (D-78- Assembly), as well as Simon Mayeski of the non partisan Common Cause and Phillip W. Liburd, Executive Board Member of the NAACP San Diego Branch.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIGH WIND SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 25, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Wildfires are a major concern for us beginning today and into the weekend says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Warm temperatures, with wind gusts anticipated to reach up to 60 mph in wind prone areas with relative humidity expected to be in the single digit area with little over-night recovery.

This warning applies to most all of the Southern California area. If a wildfire fire does develop under these conditions anticipate a rapid rate of spread due to low fuel moisture content!

VOTING RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK IN U.S. AND SAN DIEGO

Common Cause seeks volunteers to monitor polls on Election Day

October 24, 2012 (San Diego)--This past June, San Diego witnessed an unprecedented surge in voter intimidation during the primary. A nationally funded voter suppression effort is expected to employ even harsher bullying tactics on November 6th, when even more voters will be exercising their fundamental right to cast a ballot.

BREAKING NEWS - GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES ARRESTED AT DEBATE

October 16, 2012 (San Diego) – Not a banner day for our beloved democracy when a legitimate candidate for President of the United States is arrested simply for practicing her right to free speech.

But so it goes...

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the Green Party presidential and vice-presidential nominees, were just forcibly prevented from entering the grounds of tonight's presidential debate and arrested by local police.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/10/breaking-news-green-party-ca...

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: WELCOME TO THE NUTHOUSE (GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2)

By Brian Lafferty

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film

October 12, 2012 (San Diego) – Roughly half the people interviewed at the beginning of Grave Encounters 2 describe the first one as scary, while the other half says they weren’t frightened.  I aligned myself with the latter group.  Grave Encounters was an average found footage horror film with little originality, cheap special effects, and zero scares. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: AFFLECK IN DANGERLAND (ARGO)

By Brian Lafferty

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

October 12, 2012 (San Diego) -- In the summer of 1993 my family and I went on a road trip through the Midwest.  Among our stops was St. Louis.  As the afternoon began to wind down, we headed for the parking garage.  It started to get overcast.  Shortly after, it started to rain a little bit.  Within seconds it poured like the dickens.  My parents, sisters, and I had to run all the way to the parking garage, but not before we were totally drenched.  We were so sopping wet, we had to change in the parking garage. 

CANCERCARE AND CARIBOU COFFEE: A PERFECT BLEND FOR CANCER PATIENTS

By Jamie Reno

The Reno Dispatch

Oct. 11, 2012 (San Diego) -- As a 16-year cancer survivor and longtime patient advocate, I was excited to learn that Caribou Coffee, one of the leading branded coffee companies in the country, has formed a new partnership with CancerCare, a non-profit organization that for nearly 70 years has provided a variety of free support services for cancer patients and their loved ones.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/10/cancercare-and-caribou-coffe...

FROM THE REAL ESTATE TRENCHES: REAL ESTATE RECOVERY SIGNS AND MORE LOCAL REAL ESTATE NEWS

By Charlotte Reed, REALTOR SRES CRS

October 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—This column includes some hopeful signs of a real estate recover, a warning about a loan scam, a new real estate laws taking effect in January 2013, and an update on a revised Homeowner Bill of Rights.

EARTHTALK®: CANDIDATES ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD AND POSITIONS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

October 10, 2012 -- Dear EarthTalk: Given that the presidential election is just around the corner, what can you tell me about each candidate’s environmental track record and positions?          -- Jane Miller, Chicago, IL

Just because the environment is getting short shrift this election season due to our nation’s lingering economic woes doesn’t mean that candidates Obama and Romney can ignore the issue.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: MITT ROMNEY IN BOCA RATON: AMEN CHORUS OF THE 1%

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

 

October 5, 2012 (San Diego)--Just about everybody who follows American politics at all has heard by now of the surreptitious video recording made of Mitt Romney and his peers at a $50,000 per person fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida last May 17. In case you need the reminder, it’s the event at which he said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent on the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That’s an entitlement. … These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center … ”

ONLY IN AMERICA: A CIVIL DEBATE WITH MY MUSLIM FRIEND

By Jamie Reno

Exclusive for the Reno Dispatch

October 8, 2012 (San Diego) – Last week, Randy Hamud, the attorney, author and civil rights activist who represented several of the friends of the three 9/11 hijackers who lived in San Diego, wrote an op-ed piece for the U-T San Diego newspaper in which he addressed whether the now-infamous 14-minute video ridiculing the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was an exercise of free speech, or an incitement to violence that should not be granted First Amendment protection.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/10/only-in-america-civil-debate...

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: WHAT ARE RED FLAG WARNINGS?

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

October 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service (NWS) issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert fire departments and land management agencies about the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. This could be due to low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, or any combination thereof.

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