Mountains

SUPERVISORS APPROVE FUNDS FOR MORE CAMERAS TO SPOT WILDFIRES IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  HPWREN images of Chariot Fire in 2013

January 23, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Five more cameras will soon be positioned atop mountains in East County to help spot wildfires and help firefighters douse flames early to prevent firestorms.  Supervisors on Tuesday approved funds to expand the UCSD Scripps Institute’s High-Performance Wireless Research and Education Network, or HPWREN.

RAMONA PLUMBER-TURNED-AUTHOR DEBUTS NEW BOOK “ALL ABOUT WATER” FEB. 7

 

East County News Service

 

January 22, 2018 (Ramona) -- Ramona Author and local plumber Greg Chick will be at Unicorn Books and Gifts, 845 Main Street, Ramona, CA on Wednesday, February 7th from 4 to 6 p.m.  Chick will be available to sign copies and discuss his new book, All About Water: As Told by The Plumber Who's Seen It All.

HELP SAVE AND RECONSTRUCT THE FORMER ALPINE MINE TRAIN EXHIBIT

 

Source: Campo Railroad Park & Museum

January 22, 2018 (Campo) -- The Campo Railroad Park & Museum has set up a donation page to help offset the costs of relocating and reconstructing the former Alpine train lovingly operated for children of all ages by Roy Athey. 

The Museum is committed to keeping the legacy alive in Campo with a dynamic exhibit of not only the train ride but also to include a faux mine complete with mining equipment to explain San Diego County’s many gold and precious metal mines.  Moving the train and setting it up was an unexpected gift and funds are simply not available today to put it back together. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: KEEP ALPINE’S SMALL TOWN CHARM

 

An open letter to County Planning and Development Services by Mary Harris

January 21, 2018 (Alpine) -- I don't want future development projects in Alpine to include designs that are not consistent with keeping the small town charm of Alpine. We have already seen many developments in Alpine that make our town resemble our nearest city, El Cajon. I do not want to see conformity in designs that lack character. Examples of this that we have already been forced to accept are the Albertson's shopping center.Albertson's design shows no attempt to fit in to our towns historic rural feel, but instead looks like a typical store one would see in El Cajon. No effort was made to include creative facades, water features, or shade bearing trees.

DOUBLE BLOW: COURT RULING ON BOND FUNDS AND STATE DECISION AGAINST UNIFICATION KNOCK DOWN HOPES FOR ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL

 

 

By Paul Kruze; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Hear court audio

Read appellate decision

January 21, 2018 (Alpine) -- Just as students returned to school after winter break last week, lawyers for the Alpine Union School District (AUSD), Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability and Grossmont Union High School District returned to court in front of a three-judge tribunal headed by Associate Justice Patricia D. Benke of the 4th District California Superior Court of Appeals.  

But a week later, the court panel upheld an earlier ruling by Judge Pressman against Alpine, agreeing that the GUHSD need not keep millions of dollars set aside for an Alpine High School that now may never be built, despite previous bond measures approved by voters that included funds for the school. Then on Friday, the State Board of Education denied Alpine's unification petition that would have enabled the AUSD to build the high school. The double losses may prove to be knock-out blows for the hard-fought effort to bring a high school to Alpine.

PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDS APPROVAL OF COUNTY CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

 

The San Diego County Planning Commission voted 6-1 Thursday to recommend that the County’s Board of Supervisors approve the County’s revised Climate Action Plan, with some modifications.

MOM NEEDS HELP TO MOVE SON TO RAMONA AFTER TEEN LOST DAD IN MURDER-SUICIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Jayson Hinkle with his mother, Crystal and brother, Dominick

January 20, 2018 (Ramona) – Crystal Dominguez Hinkle has launched a GoFundMe page to help her son, Jayson, 14. “I am desperately trying to gather funds to move us back to Ramona, where my son can be surrounded by his loving and supportive friends,” she told ECM in an e-mail.

CONTROLLED BURN NEAR PINE VALLEY STARTS TUESDAY

 
 
East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts
 
January 15, 2018 (Pine Valley) -- If you see smoke  over East County  on this week, be aware that Cal Fire San Diego will conduct its first controlled burn of the year starting on Tuesday. Ignition is set to begin by mid-morning and is expected to take place over several days until complete.
 
The planned 100-acre burn on Corte Madera Ranch south of I-8 near Pine Valley is part of Cal Fire's vegetation management program to help prevent future large wildfires. Smoke will be visible throughout the county.

DEDICATION CEREMONY JAN. 27 FOR “HIKING ON MT. WOODSON” MURAL AT RAMONA FITNESS CENTER

 

Source: Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural project

Photo: Artist Rik Erickson works to complete expansive 12 feet x 70 feet Mt. Woodson mural to be placed at the Ramona Fitness Center on Jan. 27

January 14, 2018 (Ramona) -- A dedication ceremony for the “Hiking on Mount Woodson” mural will be held on Saturday, January 27 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Ramona Fitness Center at 558 Main Street, Ramona. The public is invited to attend. In addition to refreshments, attendees will receive a picture of the mural, autographed by the artist.

COUNTY BOARD APPROVES $2 MILLION TREE PLANTING PROGRAM

 

The Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved a $2 million expansion of a program to remove and replace weakened trees in County parks. The action authorizes the Department of Parks and Recreation to advertise and award the contract for its Comprehensive Tree Program.

DEPUTY INJURED IN STRUGGLE WITH SUSPECT MISTAKEN FOR BURGLAR IN ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2018 (Alpine) – Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a burglary alarm at the Alpine School District yesterday around 4 p.m.  After security the perimeter of the building, they contacted a person they believed to be a possible suspect.   The individual, Kelly Carpenter, 59, “became uncooperative and assaultive toward deputies,” according to Sergeant James Blanton.  A deputy was injured in the struggle and received treatment for minor injuries.

SUSPECT IN RAMONA MURDER-SUICIDE DIES OF HIS INJURIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Samantha Banegas, via Facebook

January 10, 2018 (Ramona) – Bryan Hinkle, the suspect in the shooting death of Samantha Hayes Banegas, has died of self-inflicted injuries. Banegas, an El Cajon resident, had been honored as 2013-14 Barona Powwow Princess.

HEARINGS ON ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL AND UNIFICATION

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2018 (Alpine) – Two key hearings that could determine the future of students in Alpine are coming up: a court appeal and a State Board of Education hearing  January 19 at which the Board will consider a recommendation by the Department of Education to deny a unification petition, and a January 11 appeal of a lawsuit over funds to build the long promised Alpine High School.

CAL FIRE AND COUNTY FIRE DEPLOY SWIFTWATER RESCUE TEAM IN PREPARATION FOR POWERFUL STORM

 

East County News Service

January 8, 2018 (Ramona) -- With the expected arrival of the strongest storm to hit the region since last winter’s record breaking rainfall, County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego are taking steps to ensure that they are prepared for any weather-related incidents this week.

County officials expect the heaviest rain to arrive early Tuesday and anticipate it impacting the morning commute. As a result, San Diego County Fire will be activating a swift water rescue team which will be prepositioned in the Ramona area that will be available for immediate response to any portion of the county should the need arise. In addition to the swift water rescue team,CAL FIRE San Diego will have hand crews available for flood fighting operations.

FIGURE SKATER FROM RAMONA HEADS TO OLYMPICS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jay Adeff, U.S. Figure Skating Association

View video excerpts of their winning performances at U.S. nationals here:  https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/949798302979100679  and https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/949103279803392001

 

January 7, 2018 (Ramona) – Chris Knierim and his wife, Alexa Scimeca Knierim, have been chosen to represent the U.S. in the 2018 winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in February, after capturing the first place medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. 

Knierim grew up in Ramona and Escondido, skating at San Diego Ice Arena in middle school, NBC 7 has reported. 

The couple nailed their Olympic spot with their signature thrown quadruple twist, despite missing side-by-side jumps.  They finished first overall after also taking first place in the short program.

SUPERVISOR JACOB CALLS FOR CPUC INVESTIGATION INTO SDG&E POWER SHUT-OFFS; CPUC CONFIRMS IT WILL INVESTIGATE INTENTIONAL OUTAGES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated September 6, 2018 with response from SDG&E

September 4, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob has sent a letter to California Public Utilities Chairman Michael Picker requesting a formal investigation and independent review by the agency into  San Diego Gas & Electric’s decision to shut off power to thousands of San Diego County residents during recent Santa Ana winds, ostensibly to prevent power lines from sparking fires. 

In an email to ECM, a CPUC spokesman has confirmed that the regulatory agency will conduct an investigation into the intentional outages.

RAIN. HAIL AND SNOW FORECAST FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – The first significant Pacific storm of the season is forecast to hit our region Monday night through Wednesday morning, bringing up to four inches of rain to mountain areas along with snow above 4,500 feet.  Thunderstorms, hail and gusty winds are also predicted.

VICTIM IN MURDER-SUICIDE WAS EL CAJON RESIDENT, 21; SHOOTER NOT EXPECTED TO SURVIVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (Ramona) – The woman found dead at 24478 Del Amo Road in Ramona yesterday has been identified as Samantha Hayes Benegas, 21, of El Cajon. Deputies responding to a 911 call reporting a murder suicide also found Bryan Kinkle, 35, of Ramona nearby with a serious wound; he was airlifted to a hospital but is not expected to survive according to Lieutenant Rich Williams with the Sheriff’s homicide unit. 

The County Medical Examiner’s officer has completed an autopsy on Benegas and found cause of death was a gunshot wound. 

SECOND PEDESTRIAN DEATH ON HIGHWAY 79; CHP SEEKS DRIVER OF HYUNDAI WHO FLED SCENE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (Santa Ysabel) – A 29-year-old man walking in the northbound lane of State Route 79 was struck and killed last night around 8 p.m. by a 2003 silver Hyundai., south of Mesa Grande Road in Santa Ysabel. 

DRIVER CHARGED WITH DUI AFTER KILLING PEDESTRIAN ON HIGHWAY 79

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (Aguanga) – Jeffrey Scott Littrell, 48, of Warner Springs has been arrested for felony driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.  Last night around 7:15 p.m., Littrell was driving his Ford pickup southbound on State Route 79 north of Chihuahua Valley Road when he struck a 5-year-old man walking alongside the highway.

RAMONA WOMAN DEAD, MAN WOUNDED IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE ATTEMPT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News

January 3, 2018 (Ramona) – Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 caller reporting a murder suicide at a home on 24478 Del Amo Road in Ramona shortly after noon today.  Inside, they found a dead woman and a wounded man who was air lifted to a local hospital in serious condition.  The man’s injuries are considered life threatening, says Lieutenant Rich Williams with the Sheriff’s Homicide Detail.

JULIAN AND CUYAMACA TO LOSE PARAMEDIC ENGINE STARTING JAUNARY 1

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 12 p.m. to include comments from Pat Landis.

December 30, 2017 (Julian/Cuyamaca)—On January1st,  the full-time staffed San Diego County Paramedic Fire Engine serving the Julian and Cuyamaca areas will be permanently closed. The action leaves the communities to rely solely on volunteer firefighters and one ambulance for fire and life safety services, which could lead to long delays in medical services if that unit is transportation a patient to a hospital, critics contend.

The paramedic engine had been providing fire and emergency medical response services 24 hours a day, seven days a week under a temporary agreement between the County of San Diego and the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. The CAL FIRE Firefighters that were assigned to the engine have been reassigned to other facilities within San Diego County.

The action comes after the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District voted to reject consolidation with the County Fire Department and remain independent—the last remaining volunteer fire department in the County.  Cal Fire firefighters blame the board for the current problems, but a former board member faults the district's fire chief.

PIANIST JOHN NILSEN PERFORMS SOLO CONCERT JANUARY 13 IN DESCANSO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (Descanso) – Acclaimed pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter John Nilsen from the Pacific Northwest will perform a solo piano concert on Saturday, January 13th at 2 p.m. at Chapel of the Hills Community Church, 25153 Viejas Blvd. in Descanso. The concert is free of charge. The church will provide light refreshments, a chance to chat with the artist in a reception after the performance, and his musical CDs will be available for purchase.

According to his bio, Nilsen is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most successful performance and recording artists, with records that have sold well over a million copiesl His love of the outdoors is reflected in many of his works. Chosen a Deering Banjo artist in 2016, he has performed in all 50 states and many foreign countries, also speaking and conducting residencies on songwriting and music performance at schools across the U.S.  He has performed with luminaries such as Jose Feliciano, Jesse Colin Young and Marc Cohn and Kenny G.

COUPLE LOSES EVERYTHING IN MOBILE HOME FIRE AT LENORA WINERY IN RAMONA

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 27, 2017 (Ramona) – A fire on December 22nd destroyed a mobile home rented by Fidel and Dora Ontiberos at the Lenora Winery on Steffy Lane in Ramona. 

“They did lose everything that they owned inside that mobile home as well as their pick-up truck and some contents in a small storage shed,” winery owner Eric Metz told East County magazine in an e-mail on December 26th.  “They were not injured, fortunately, but they escaped with just their lives.”  The couple had no insurance, so the loss is total.

VIEJAS CASINO & RESORT TO OPEN A NEW LUXURY TOWER IN FEBRUARY 2018

 

The newly revealed 159 all-suite luxury tower features adult-only wellness retreat

East County News Service

December 26, 2017 (Alpine) — Viejas Casino & Resort, a Forbes Travel Guide 4 Star rated and AAA 4 Diamond rated establishment, will open a new luxury tower in February 2018 as the third phase of its latest development plans. The newly unveiled tower Willows Hotel & Spa is designed as a resort within a resort, where a holistic approach to the guest experience will be customized to promote wellness.

WHITE TIGER CUB COMING TO ALPINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2017 (Alpine) – Bobbi Brink and her rescue team from Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine have spent much of December traveling to several southern states, rescuing five black bears and a white tiger cub. The white tiger cub will soon have a permanent new home at LTB in Alpine.

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