Rural communities

BUNNY TRAIN DEPARTS MARCH 24, 25 AND 31 FROM CAMPO DEPOT

 

East County News Service

February 18, 2018 (Campo) -- The Easter Bunny will board the train at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s depot in Campo on March 24th, 25th and 31st to visit with passengers as the train travels through San Diego’s beautiful east-county mountains.  

RETIRED FIREFIGHTER BECOMES HIGHWAY “HERO” IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Jose Estrada from Cal rans presents Dan Russell with an award in appreciation of his tireless efforts

February 15, 2018 (Pine Valley/Campo) – Dan Russell worked 27 years for the San Diego Fire Department. Now he’s a local hero for a different reason – working tirelessly to clean up trash along Interstate 8 and other roadways in East County.

“I’ve been doing it now for 12 years,” says Russell.  “I would say I average five hours a day, six days a week.  I pick up just under a thousand pounds a month…real close to 10,000 pounds a year; over 100,000 pounds since I got started.”

“PROMISE ZONE” BILL BY HUESO AIMS TO HELP BLIGHTED RURAL AND TRIBAL AREA

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 10, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- Legislation introduced by State Senator Ben Hueso aims to expand a successful “promise zone” program originally used to improve inner city areas in the city of San Diego.  If enacted,  Senate Bill 635 would allow blighted rural and tribal communities as well as cities with populations under 200,000 people to also apply for promise zone designation.

VIEJAS CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF THE WILLOWS HOTEL AND SPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

 

 

February 9, 2018 (Alpine) – At the grand opening last week of The Willows Hotel & Spa, an adults-only luxury high-rise  at the Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, located in San DIego's inland region, tribal chairman Robert Welch reflected told the crowd to "put on your sunglasses, because the future of Viejas has never looked brighter!”

The entire facility is reserved for adults only (families may stay at the original Viejas Hotel nearby). Each suite is sumptuously appointed and attention to architectural and design details are evident in craftsmanship throughout.

The Willows features a tower with 159 suites, a saltwater swimming pool, spa and salon facilities, restaurants, fitness center, and business center.

FABRISON’S OFFERS COUNTRY FRENCH FANCY OR RUSTIC OPTIONS FEB. 14 IN JAMUL

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2018 (Jamul) – What could be more romantic than a Valentine’s dinner at a French restaurant?  Fabrison’s Country French Cooking in Jamul is offering two dinner packages for you and your sweetheart on February 14. Choose from Country French fancy at $50 a person or Country French Rustic at $35 a person.

Each includes a three-course meal with multiple options.  Bon appetit!

THE SAPS AT SEA PROUDLY PRESENT COMIC CALAMITIES NIGHT MARCH 31

 

East County News Service

February 7, 2018 (Spring Valley) - The Saps at Sea, the official Laurel & Hardy fan organization of San Diego, continue their slam-bang festival of funtastic films on Saturday, March 31st at 7:00 p.m. at Williams Hall at Trinity Church in Spring Valley (3902 Kenwood Drive) with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

ARREST MADE IN FATAL SHOOTING NEAR SPRING VALLEY ALBERTSON’S

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 1, 2018 (Spring Valley) – Thomas Jackson,28, has been arrested and charged with the murder of Aurice J. Turk, 25.  Turk was killed January 4th around 9 p.m. in a reported fight near the Albertson’s on Campo Road in the Casa de Oro area of Spring Valley.

REVITALIZING CASA DE ORO: “TODAY IS A BIG STEP FORWARD,” SAYS DIANNE JACOB AS SUPERVISORS ACCEPT CONSULTANTS’ REPORT, BUT CHANGES WILL TAKE TIME

 

By Paul Kruze

February 1, 2018 (Casa de Oro) – The San Diego County Board of voted in principal to approve a blueprint laid out for the eventual revitalizing of the Campo Road area of Casa de Oro at last Thursday’s meeting.

But don’t expect changes to occur overnight.

LOCAL LEVELS OF OZONE PEAK IN MOUNTAIN AND DESERT AREAS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – You might be surprised to learn where the highest levels of ozone pollution are in San Diego County. Hint: it’s not urban areas in local cities, but rather, communities in East County’s mountains and desert areas.

TAX TIPS AND ALPINE HONORARY MAYOR ON AGENDA FOR “HOT TOPICS” BREAKFAST FEB. 13 AT JANET’S MONTANA CAFÉ

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2018 (Alpine) — You’re invited to get 2018 tax filing tips from Roger Garay, Online Bookkeeping & Tax Service, and hear about the Alpine Honorary Mayor campaign. 

Both are on the agenda for the Alpine-Mountain Empire’s “Hot Topics” breakfast at Janet’s Montana Café, 2506 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine. The event will be on Feb. 13 from 7:15 a.m. to 9 a.m.

MAN JUMPS TO DEATH OFF PINE VALLEY BRIDGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2018 (Pine Valley) -- A man committed suicide by jumping off the Pine Valley bridge off of Interstate 8 tonight. The tragedy was reported shortly after 5 p.m.   The victim has not been identified, but a white Toyota sedan was parked at the scene. 

SDG&E SHUTS OFF POWER ACROSS BACKCOUNTRY DURING RED FLAG WARNING, SPARKING MORE ANGRY RESPONSES FROM RESIDENTS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – With a red flag warning in effect due to high fire danger and gusty Santa Ana Winds forecast through Monday, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has once again shut off power to many rural and mountain communities.  An outage map curiously labels these as “unplanned outages” even though clicking on communities show in the SDG&E outages page map reveals that in most of the current outages, “We’ve shut off the power for safety.” 

Power went off last night  during Saturday evening hours and is not slated for restoration until mid-to-late afternoon on Monday.

The power is presently out in many areas including the East County communitise Boulevard, Live Oak Springs, Descanso, Pine Valley, Alpine, Pine Hills, Santa Ysabel and surrounding communities, affecting thousands of customers. Portions of North County including Valley Center and the Pauma area are also without power.

SYCUAN CASINO TO ADD OVER 700 NEW CASINO AND RESORT JOBS

 

Now hiring for new Director of Sales position

East County News Service

January 24, 2018 (El Cajon) --  Sycuan Casino announced today that the organization is now hiring for a new Director of Sales position. This position is the first of over 700 new jobs for the hotel and resort expansion project. The new positions will be in the hotel, food and beverage and casino divisions. Sycuan will begin hiring for departmental leadership positions during the first half of the year and will host a series of job fairs mid to late 2018.

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.

“SAFEGUARD OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE” INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO CONTROL DEVELOPMENT

 

Initiative would require public vote on significant changes to General Plan, to protect backcountry from sprawl-style development and traffic gridlock

East County News Service

January 24, 201 (San Diego) -- Today the San Diego County Registrar of Voters approved the title and summary for the “Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside” Initiative, clearing the way for proponents to gather signatures to place the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. If passed, the measure would require voter approval of amendments to the San Diego County General Plan that significantly increase density on parcels in the unincorporated county now designated for farming, open space, and wildlife uses.

COUNTY TO ACCEPT COMPETING BIDS FOR ANIMAL SERVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – County Supervisors on Tuesday approved a proposal to accept bids from outside animal welfare organizations seeking to compete against the County’s Animal Services Department to provide services in the County’s unincorporated areas, including rural, desert and mountain regions in East County as well as neighborhoods such as Spring Valley, Alpine, and Lakeside. In East County, the city of Santee will also be impacted.

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.

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.

GIRLS WATER POLO: MONARCHS HELD TO ONE GOAL FOR THREE QUARTERS AS VAQUEROS EARN FIRST WIN IN GROSSMONT LEAGUE PLAY

 

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Story and photos by Liz Alper

January 17, 2018 (Spring Valley) - For the first high school coverage of the new year, ECM traveled to Spring Valley, where the Vaqueros of El Capitan saw the Monte Vista Monarchs in the pool.  The lady Monarchs have a rough start to the season, going 2-4 overall and winless in league (0-2).  The Vaqueros are doing a little better; 6-5 overall but also winless (0-2) in league.

THEFT FROM UTILITIES ALLEGED IN SPRING VALLEY POT SHOP RAIDED MONDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2018 (San Diego) – They seem to spring up faster than weeds after the winter rains.  Marijuana dispensaries, still illegal on unincorporated lands in San Diego County despite the state’s recent legalization of recreational use, continue to pop up and routinely be shut down by the Sheriff’s department.

ANOTHER ILLEGAL POT SHOP RAIDED IN SPRING VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2018 (Spring Valley) – A raid at The Bakery, an illegal marijuana dispensary at 9215 Birth Street in Spring Valley, yesterday morning resulted in seizure of large amounts of marijuana, marijuana edibles, cash, marijuana paraphernalia and other items.

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.

REVITALIZATION OF CASA DE ORO: VALLE DE ORO PLANNING GROUP APPROVES PROPOSAL

 

The advisory group recommends a plan to Supervisors for extensive redevelopment of Campo Road, plus a park on Conrad Drive

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio files of Valle de Oro planning group meeting:

Casa De Oro Revitalization

Estrella County Park

View the Casa de Oro options comparison table

January 9, 2018 (Casa de Oro) -- Before the main freeway arteries of State Highway 94 and Interstate Highway 8 were built, Campo Road in the East County community of Casa de Oro was a center of community and commerce. Even earlier, Campo Road served as a wagon road providing access to eastern San Diego County as well as Imperial County; it was added to the state highway system in 1933. But lack of vision and planning in the last 20 years has caused Campo Road to now be home to empty storefronts, liquor stores, smoke shops, medical marijuana dispensaries, dive bars, massage parlors, hookah lounges, and tattoo parlors interspersed with other businesses. Some of these shops turn a blind eye to local and state laws and regulations.

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.

RESTAURANT WEEK INCLUDES FIVE EAST COUNTY EATERIES

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

January 9, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Restaurant Week will be held January 21st through 28th, offering up three-course dinners from $20-$50 and two-courses lunches for $10-$20.

This year, five East County restaurants are participating, including the Final Cut Steakhouse in Jamul and four La Mesa eateries:  Farmer’s Table, Bo-Beau’s Kitchen and Garden, Antica Trattoria and Terra Bistro.

FIREFIGHTERS SET UP FUND TO HELP FAMILY OF 20 WITH MANY ADOPTED, DISABLED CHILDREN

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2018 (El Cajon) – Firefighters from the San Miguel Fire Department have set up a Go Fund Me page to help a family of 20, including many adopted children with disabilities.  A fire outside the Hauer family’s home yesterday damaged two vehicles, including a specialized van used to transport youngsters with medical needs.

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.

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