Rural communities

CRIMINAL ARSON PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GATE FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Cynthia Wharton, taken yesterday from Otay Lakes Road just before it was shut down.

May 21, 2017 – A criminal arson investigation has been launched into the cause of the Gate Fire, which has charred 2,056 acres and is now 70% contained.

Captain Isaac Sanchez with Cal Fire told ECM news partner 10 News that a video shot by a target shooter and posted on social media shows a group of people starting the fire. The video may be this one posted by a user named Vandalsworld on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BUVtlvSBN0r/?hl=en.   The poster claims the people started the fire, but it is unclear whether the fire was started by shooting or some other way. After the fire started, the people could be seen walking away from the scene.

Earlier, some neighbors had blamed the fire on shooters at a target range near where the fire began, in an area where shooting is believed to have started several prior brush fires. But now a shooter may have captured evidence to catch possible arsonists or careless individuals whose actions ignited the Gate Fire.

Firefighters continue to make progress towards full containment, Cal Fire reports.  State Route 94 has been reopened, as well as Otay Lakes Road.  Please drive with caution, however, in this area.

VOLUNTARY EVACUATIONS IN DULZURA

 

Update May 21, 2017, 8 a.m.  -- The Gate fire nearly doubled overnight to 1,500 acres,  but firefighters made good progress overnight and the wildfire is now 30% contained. Road closures remain in effect.

Update 9 p.m. - An overnight shelter is opened at Otay Ranch High School,  250 Olympic Parkway in Chula Vista for those who have evacuated.  Pet supplies and RV parking are available.

East County New Service

Photo by Cyndy Hoffman, taken from her home, looking toward Otay

May 20, 2017 (Dulzura) -- The fast-moving Gate Fire has charred 800 acres and is 10% contained.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m., the following emergency message was sent to 77 contacts by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department:  “There is a fire in the area of Dulzura. The wind is blowing to the East and there is a concern that the fire may spread to your area.  You are being advised to be ready to evacuate if notified to do so.  You may evacuate now if you choose to do so.  The evacuation route is Highway 94 East to Buckman Springs North to Interstate 8 West.  Take interstate 8 West to East Willows Road.  Exit East Willows Road and turn right(north).  Continue West on East Willows Road to the Viejas Casino.  The Red Cross will have a temporary evacuation center located in the casino parking lot. This a fire warning only, not an evacuation order"

If you have an emergency call 9-1-1.  Monitor local television and radio stations, or call the San Diego County Information line by calling 2-1-1 for updated information. For animal emergencies related to this fire please contact Animal Services Dispatch (619) 767-2675.

GATE FIRE NOW 300-400 ACRES: EVACUATIONS ORDERED

 

Update 5:55 p.m.:  The Gate Fire is 800 acres and is now 10% contained.  Road closures remain in effect on Highway 94 from Honey Springs Rd. to State Route 188, and on Otay Lakes Road.

Update 4:50 p.m.:   Fire is now 500 acres and still only 5% contained. A Chula Vista policeman directing traffic was struck by a vehicle and has been taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Update 3:20 p.m. :  The Gate Fire is now 425 acres and 5% contained, per Cal Fire. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo left, by Dan Cassidy

May 20, 2017 (Jamul/Otay) – The Gate Fire has scorched 300 to 400 acres,  according to Cal-Fire.  Thus far no structures have been damaged.  The fire is burning  near Highway 94 and Otay Lakes Road, toward the Rancho Jamul Reserve with winds at 10-15 miles per hour.  The fire is zero percent contained and still spreading rapidly. 

WALK FOR CANCER THIS WEEKEND IN SPRING VALLEY AND CELEBRATE WITH FIREWORKS

 

East County News Service

May 19, 2017 (Spring Valley) – Calling all walkers! You’re invited to get on track and take turns walking for 24 hours, since cancer never sleeps. It’s all part of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life team event to fight cancer this Saturday and Sunday, May 21, starting at 9 a.m. each day at Monte Vista High School’s football field, 3230 Sweetwater Springs Blvd. in Spring Valley.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR MURDER NEAR VIEJAS RESERVATION

 

East County News Service

May 17, 2017 (Alpine) -- Detectives from the Sheriff's Homicide Detail and the Alpine Sheriff's Station are investigating the apparent murder of a 42-year-old man in Alpine.

Last night at approximately 6:35 pm, the Sheriff's Communications Center received a call of a suicidal man at 31 Viejas Grade in Alpine. Deputies from the Sheriff's Alpine Station responded to the area and found the man unresponsive and suffering from a gunshot wound. Paramedics began life saving measures but the victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

VINTAGE PLEASURES AT FIRST JAMUL WINE FESTIVAL

By Miriam Raftery

May 14, 2017 (Jamul) – Wineries from along the emerging Highway 94 wine corridor  served up fruits of their labors at the Jamul Wine Festival April 29th at St. St. Pius X Catholic Church in Jamul,  all to benefit building classrooms for local children.  Guests also savored an abundant array of delicious foods,  bid on unique silent auction items,  enjoyed live music, a presentation with wine tasting tips, and more.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to showcase the Vineyards and Wineries in Jamul and to make our Festival the first of many to come,” said Gary Gorton with the Knights Council 9659 at the church.

ALPINE SCHOOL DISTRICT, TAXPAYERS FILE APPEALS

 

By Julie Pendray

May 15, 2017 (Alpine) -- In the latest move to get Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) to build a high school in Alpine, appeals have been filed in the Fourth Appellate Court in San Diego, with oral arguments expected late summer to early next year.

Alpine Union School District (AUSD) and Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability (ATBA) are disputing a 2016 decision by a trial judge who found that Grossmont is not mandated to construct the Alpine school because an enrollment trigger of 23,245 students in the Grossmont district had not been reached “at the time of release of request for construction bids.”

UNIFICATION PROCESS FOR ALPINE TO SPLIT FROM GROSSMONT SCHOOL DISTRICT DRAGS ON; FUTURE OF HIGH SCHOOL HANGS IN THE BALANCE

 

By Julie Pendray 

May 15, 2017 (Alpine) -- When construction of a high school in Alpine was delayed indefinitely following passage of bond measures in 2004 and 2008, Alpine Union School District (AUSD) decided to seek unification. Reorganizing the district would enable it to operate K-12 schools and build the high school without waiting on Grossmont Unified High School District (GUSD), which is responsible for the school’s construction under Props. H and U. Alpine’s proposal was given the green light by the County Office of Education, which forwarded its recommendation to the state Board of Education (Board) in 2014.

WILD IN THE COUNTRY: CASINO ROYALE AT THE RANCH MAY 20 BENEFITS LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS

 

East County News Service

May 12, 2017 (Alpine) -- "Casino Royale at the Ranch" at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine will be Saturday, May 20 from 3-7 p.m.  Besides exotic cats and bears, this event will have entertainment for the whole family, featuring the 2017 Funniest Person in San Diego winner James Schrader, and the “most exciting Elvis-themed entertainment on the planet” James Kruk, plus The Big Boss Men.  

DESCANSO WOMAN, 22, KILLED IN ROLLOVER CRASH IN CARLSBAD

 

East County News Service

May 11, 2017 (Descanso) – Mireyaa Hernandez, 22, of Descanso died May 7th in a rollover crash in Carlsbad at 1:31 a.m.  According to the Medical Examiner’s report, she was the passenger in the back seat of a double-cab pickup truck that lost control in a curve on the ramp from northbound I-5 to eastbound 78.

MOUNTAIN MAN LIVING HISTORICAL ENCAMPMENT: MAY 12-14 AND MAY 19-20 AT LAKE MORENA VILLAGE

 

By Carl Costantinto

Photos by Carl Constantino and Debbie Parker

May 3, 2017 (Lake Morena) -- Step back in time at the 24th Annual Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous. Meet colorful characters from the French and Indian War, thru to the North American Fur Trade era, circa 1750 - 1840.

See mountain men and women in period attire living in tipis and period tent encampments.  Watch demonstrations of the everyday skills of the era, such as starting a fire with flint & steel, how to load & shoot a flintlock rifle, throw a knife & tomahawk, and shoot a primitive longbow.  There is a blacksmith shop where you can watch and learn about the important work of the 1800’s blacksmith.  Or just relax and listen to period music being played under the shady oaks.  Bring your camera and come enjoy a trip back in time.

CAL FIRE TO CONDUCT PRESCRIBED BURN IN THE JAMUL AREA

 

Source:  Cal Fire

May 10, 2017 (Jamul) - CAL FIRE and San Diego County Fire, in cooperation with California Department of Fish & Wildlife, will be conducting a habitat restoration prescribed burn approximately 4 miles southeast of Jamul within the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve. Burning of standing vegetation will occur on approximately 70 acres as part of CALFIRE’s Vegetation Management Program (VMP). Ignition will occur at approximately 8:00 AM on May 11, 2017 and smoke may be visible throughout the County.

JACOB ASKS CPUC TO AUDIT POWERLINK FIRE MITIGATION GRANTS THROUGH SDG&E

 

East County News Service

May 1, 2017 (Jamul) – When SDG&E received approval to build the Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines across rural East County, the company was required to provide fire mitigation grant of up to $2,000 for impacted homeowners to create defensible space through landscaping and/or install fire-hardening building materials to protect their properties.

BRAD DALUISO GOLF CLASSIC FEATURES HELICOPTER BALL DROP

 
By Nick Pellegrino
Photo courtesy Grossmont College
 
May 1, 2017 (Dehesa) - Brad Daluiso, the former National Football League kicker who spent the majority of an 11-year career with the New York Giants, added a wrinkle to his annual charity golf tournament, slated for Friday (May 5).

VAQUEROS SOFTBALL BLANKS MATADORS 12-0

 

 

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Story and photos by Liz Alper

April 27, 2017 (Spring Valley) - Mount Miguel softball is a little worse for wear; they’re 5-7 overall and 1-3 in league play so far heading into today’s game against El Capitan.  The Vaqueros are a different story; they sport a decent 12-10 overall record, but are undefeated in league play with a 4-0 record coming into today.  Sophomore Nya Maga started on the hill for the Matadors against junior Elena Laddon for the Vaqueros.

SAPS AT SEA PRESENTS: STAN AND OLLIE OFF TO WAR! JUNE 3

UPDATE:  Date changed to June 3

Source:  Saps at Sea

March 9, 2017 (Spring Valley) - The Saps at Sea, the local Laurel & Hardy fan club, continues its 39th Anniversary Year on May 27 with a gathering of marvelous movie delights and hijinks!

HELICOPTER TRAFFIC, PARKS AND MORE ON CAMPO LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP’S AGENDA APRIL 24

 

East County News Service

April 22, 2017 (Campo-Lake Morena) – The Campo Lake Morena Planning Group meets Monday, April 24th at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Empire Community Center (976 Seridan Rd., Campo).   

The agenda includes a discussion about low-flying military helicopters over communities, a proposed change in state law regarding parks funding, and a review of applicants for a board vacancy.  Applications are still being accepted. 

Scroll down to view full agenda.

COMMUNITY WILDFIRE ACTION PLAN WORKSHOP MAY 6 IN DESCANSO

 

East County News Service

April 20, 2017 (Descanso) – Do you have a plan for reducing your wildfire risks and protecting your family and pets? The Descanso Emergency Planning/FireSafe Group is holding a workshop on Saturday May 6 from 1-3 p.m. at the Descanso Library (9545 River Drive in Descanso) to help families prepare for wildfires.

CERT DISASTER TRAINING CLASSES IN JAMUL, PINE VALLEY AND BOULEVARD IN MAY

 

East County News Service

April 20, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learn during training.  These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until professional help arrives.

SAVOR THE FLAVORS OF HWY 94: WINE FESTIVAL APRIL 29 IN JAMUL

 

East County News Service

April 18, 2017 (Jamul) – Fantastic local wines, great food and live entertainment will be just a few of the highlights of the second annual Wine Festival benefiting St. Pius X Catholic Church's building fund.  On Saturday, April 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., wine lovers will enter the event grounds in Jamul, Calf. and begin tasting wines from the following participating wineries:

OTAY WATER BOARD CENSURES HECTOR GASTELUM FOR RACIST REMARKS

 

East County News Service

April 17, 2017 (Spring Valley) – The Otay Water District today voted 4-1 to formally censure director Hector Gastelum for official misconduct over racist remarks that he made to media, on social media, and in the March 1st board meeting.  Gastelum opposed the measure.  The resolution called his actions “reprehensible and intolerable.”

SAN MIGUEL FIRE TAKES STEPS TOWARDS COMPLETING INDEPENDENCE

 

By Mike Allen

Photo:  San Miguel Fire & Rescue

April 13, 2017 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Fire District continues to take the necessary steps to go back to being a stand-alone agency and cut the cord from Cal Fire, which currently provides its fire protection services.

FORMER PORTRERO RESIDENT SEEKING REVERSAL OF HOME FORFEITURE TO FEDS AFTER COURT VOIDS CONVICTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

April 11, 2017 (Potrero) – A former Potrero resident who was found guilty of smuggling illegal immigrants in 2014 had her ranch home seized by the federal government and sold at auction. But now a court has vacated, or voided, the most serious charges, so Kayla Rains seeks to have the auction funds returned to her.

CITIES REBEL AGAINST STATE BILL TO INCREASE SAN DIEGO’S CLOUT ON SANDAG, TAKING POWER AWAY FROM OUR REGION’S SMALLER CITIES AND THE COUNTY

 

La Mesa to vote April 11 on resolution to oppose AB 805

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Elected leaders in numerous local cities are gearing up to oppose a state bill that critics warn weaken the voices and voting power of smaller cities on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), as well as the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District.  The bill gives more power to the city of San Diego, which critics contend will mean not enough clout by representatives from the county or other cities in the region to pass, block, or even place items on the agenda.

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