Rural communities

WELCOME, RURAL RESIDENTS!

Our Rural section covers most San Diego County's inland communities south of I-8  to the border including Alpine, Barrett Junction, Boulevard, Campo, Deerhorn Valley, Dehesa, Dulzura,  Jamul,  Japatul, Lake Morena, Otay,  Potrero, and Spring Valley. 


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNING GROUP PUSHES BACK ON COUNTY DECARBONIZATION FRAMEWORK AND SANDAG REPRESENTATION

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Watch the meeting

Photo, left: Chairman Preston Brown

February 2, 2023 (Jamul) – Multiple agenda items on the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group meeting on January 24 shared a common theme: lack of empowerment of backcountry communities over decisions ranging from big energy projects to transportation and major land use projects. One planner commented, “We’re getting used to being treated like a forgotten stepchild” by the County.


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SNOW AT LOW LEVELS IN MOUNTAINS; RAIN, WINDS AND COLD WEATHER FORECAST ACROSS COUNTY

East County News Service

File photo: Snow at Pine Valley bridge, by Julie Salmons

January 29, 2023 (San Diego’s East County) – Heavy snow is forecast in East County’s mountain areas today through Tuesday morning, dropping as low as 3,500 feet in elevation by Monday morning.  Strong winds, particularly in mountain and desert areas, are also predicted through Monday, along with widespread rain at lower elevations over the next two days.

The National Weather Service predicts the following snow levels in San Diego County mountains:


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SAPS AT SEA PRESENT 'MARVELOUS MAE BUSCH' FEB. 18

East County News Service

January 28, 2023 (Spring Valley) - The Saps at Sea, the San Diego chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the Laurel & Hardy appreciation society, kicks off their 45th year with their February program on Saturday, February 18 dedicated to the actress Mae Busch.


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SPRING VALLEY VEGETATION FIRE DOUSED

Story and Photos by Josh Stotler

 

January 27, 2023 (Spring Valley) -- A single vehicle collision into a power pole ignited a small vegetation fire off of Elevator Road in Spring valley today. The reports of smoke came in to Heartland Fire Dispatch just before noon and units from Heartland, Cal Fire and air support from the San Diego Sheriffs dept. we’re quickly on the scene.


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OTAY WATER DISTRICT BOARD ELECTS MARK ROBAK AS 2023 BOARD PRESIDENT

Jose Lopez elected as Vice President and Ryan Keyes as Treasurer

East County News Service

Photo:  Mark Robak

January 26, 2023 (Spring Valley) - At its January meeting, the Otay Water District board of directors elected new officers to lead the District's board for 2023.


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STORM DESTROYS FISHING FLOAT AT LOVELAND RESERVOIR – AFTER SWEETWATER AUTHORITY DRAINED WATER TO HISTORIC LOW

Updated January 25, 2023 at 6 p.m.: Sweetwater Water Authority has advised ECM late today that it has reopened its meetings for the public to attend in-person, will update its website to provide more information on its January 11 meeting,  has enhanced audio of the January 11 meeting, and provided insurance valuation on the damaged dock.

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2023 (Alpine) – When Sweetwater Water Authority authorized draining Loveland Reservoir down to dead pool status over public objections, it left an L-shaped floating fishing dock paid for by taxpayers through a federal HUD grant perched on dry land.

 

Then came the deluge of rainfall in mid-January, which ripped apart the fishing dock.


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FIRE DESTROYS MANZANITA DINER

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Deborah Jean Peck via Backcountry Community Bulletin Board on Facebook

January 24, 2023 (Boulevard) – An early morning fire on January 17 has destroyed the Manzanita Diner in Boulevard. Long a popular stop for motorists traveling along historic Old Highway 80, the building has housed a pizzeria and Italian restaurant as well as an earlier Basque restaurant. The diner had also been a gathering place for community events through the years.


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NEW COUNTY STUDY ADVANCES WAYS TO CLOSE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN UNINCORPORATED AREA

By Donna Durckel, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 22, 2023 (San Diego's East County) - A recent analysis of census data as part of the County Comprehensive Broadband Plan showed that approximately 37,000 households in the unincorporated area of San Diego don’t have a broadband internet subscription. This places them at a disadvantage when it comes to things such as online education, healthcare services or emergency notifications.


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SPRING VALLEY DAY NEEDS VENDORS, SPONSORS, VOLUNTEERS

Free, daylong family event is scheduled for April 29, 2023

 

January 20, 2023 (Spring Valley) - The Spring Valley Day Planning Committee is looking for vendors, sponsors, and volunteers to participate in Spring Valley Day 2023. The event will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Bancroft Elementary School where Bancroft Drive and Tyler Street intersect.


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NUNSENSE - A FUNDRAISING EXPERIENCE FOR YOUNG ACTORS THEATRE

By Kathy Carpenter
 
January 14, 2023 (Casa De Oro) - Fundraising is a constant for artistic endeavors. In order to survive and bring more wholesome creative opportunities in a family oriented and safe environment, last week, Young Actors Theatre in Casa De Oro brought us Nunsense, a unique way to raise money and awareness of YAT. Variety shows don't come around too often these days, but are always fun; Nunsense showcased the many talents of six women. The show had everything you could ask for in a variety show--a fun-filled experience.

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BOARD APPROVES PLAN THAT WILL REVITALIZE CAMPO ROAD CORRIDOR

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  rendering of Campo Road with proposed changes in place

January 12, 2023 (Campo) - The County Board of Supervisors approved a plan today that will revitalize the main commercial strip and adjacent residential area along Campo Road in Casa de Oro.


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ALPINE CRASH INJURES MOTORISTS FROM SANTEE AND DESCANSO

East County News Service 

January 11, 2023 (Alpine) – Multiple injuries occurred in a two-vehicle crash in Alpine last night around 6:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports.


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SANDBAGS AVAILABLE FOR UPCOMING STORMS

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

December 30, 2022 (San Diego) - The County and CAL FIRE are offering sandbags to residents and businesses in the unincorporated areas as another round of storms prepares to hit the region on New Year’s Eve. The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and high winds.


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SHOOTING DEATH IN POTRERO

Update 12/30/2022 12 p.m. – Richard Arnold, 38, has been arrested for murder and booked into the San Diego County Jail. The victim has been identified as Kevin Stewart, 35.  Stewart and Arnold were acquaintances that lived in separate motor homes on the same property.

East County News Service

December 30, 2022 (Potrero) – The San Diego County Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the shooting death of a 35-year-old man in Potrero. A possible suspect has been detained.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: USDA, FOREST SERVICE, CONGRESSIONAL AND SWEETWATER AUTHORITY CHRISTMAS GIFT

Sweetwater Water Authority has drained Loveland Reservoir to dead pool status despite community objections loss of recreational resources, wildlife habitat and firefighting impacts, as ECM reported.  Activist and fisherman Russell Walsh sent in photos and this message in response. 

 

Photos:  left, Loveland Reservoir after being drained to dead pool level; right, before the draining, maintained at 75 year minimum pool level.

 

By Russell Walsh

 

December 27, 2022 (San Diego's East County) - Happy Holidays. This will be for my Grinch of 2022 Christmas Card. "Caring For The Land And Serving People 2022."


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ANDERSON RAISES CONCERNS OVER COUNTY’S PROPOSAL FOR CANNABIS BUSINESSES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS

East County News Service

December 27, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- In early 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors directed staff to develop a "socially equitable" cannabis program as the first step towards implementing commercial cannabis at the County level. The County contracted Womxn’s Work Consulting to create a report called the "Social Equity Assessment for Commercial Cannabis."


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MOUNTAIN LION EXPERT TO SPEAK JAN. 20 IN ALPINE

East County News Service

December 26, 2022 (Alpine) – Robin Parks, field representative with the Mountain Lion Foundation, will give a “Mountain Lions 101” presentation on January 20 at 1 p.m. in the Alpine branch of the San Diego County Library (1752 Alpine Blvd., Alpine). 

 

“Some of this interest has been prompted by the whole P-22 matter,” says Parks, referencing the mountain lion that gained fame for surviving in the Hollywood Hills before being euthanized at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park earlier this month due to injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle and other health conditions including a skullyfracture and kidney failure.  


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VIEJAS HOSTS NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

By Miriam Raftery

December 21, 2022 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino & Resort invites you to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Viejas Casino & Resort in the Park.  The party will feature live entertainment with Earth to Mars, the Bruno Mars experience, as well as go-go dancers from the Femme Fatale Dancers and DJ Gemini Nikki.  At midnight, a fireworks show and ball drop will cap off the night’s festivities.


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SHERIFF SEEKS ARMED AND DANGEROUS SUSPECT WHO ESCAPED AMID SWAT TEAM OPERATION IN SPRING VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery

December 18, 2022 (Spring Valley) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department seeks public help to find Mario Sandoval, 32, who aimed a handgun at his wife and threatened to kill her. 


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BIG CATS ENJOY SNOW IN ALPINE

East County News Service

December 17, 2022 (Alpine) – Rescued tigers at the Lions Tigers & Bears big cat and bear sanctuary in Alpine enjoyed last week’s snowfall.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: SPRING VALLEY RESIDENTS MAKE EFFORTS TO REDUCE CRIME AND HARMS FROM DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, WHILE IMPROVING COMMUNITY HEALTH

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

December 12, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Spring Valley residents have become agents of change for their community’s health  and welfare and their work is having significant results. The Spring Valley Community Alliance has become actively engaged in planning and land use issues and neighborhood health and safety concerns, while securing resources for community transformation.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNERS RAISE OBJECTIONS TO JAMUL HOTEL AND EVENT CENTER

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2022 (Jamul) – The Jamul Dulzura Community Planning Group (JDCPG) held two public hearings on the Jamul Casino Hotel and Event Center project planned by Jamul Indian Village (JIV). On November 19, the planning group chair Preston Brown sent a letter to JIV Chairwoman Erica Pinto stating that the tribal environmental impact report (TEIR) was “extraordinarily incomplete and premature for a project of this magnitude.” The planning group recommended the No Project Alternative.

The hotel would be 16 stories with floor-to-ceiling glass; the project would also include an indoor-outdoor event center and additional parking, but no new gaming.

ECM reached out to Chairwoman Pinto to request an interview. She initially agreed, but cancelled due to a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on other matters.  ECM sent written questions and requested a new interview date, but no response has yet been received. The Jamul Casino employees approximately 1,000 people and has provided economic security for the Jamul Indian Village of California's tribal members, many of whom lived in poverty in the past. The new project, if built, would significantly expand employment opportunities in the area as well as economic growth for the tribe.

County planner Scott Christman has said the project does not need approval of county Supervisors or the Governor, and the tribe has previously indicated it hoped to begin construction this month. However the the JDCPG contends that since the casino was built based on certain conditions and legal requirements being met, some of which have not been completed, the project thus does need approval/cooperation/participation of both Supervisors and the Governor.


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WINDS ROAR THROUGH EAST COUNTY MOUNTAINS

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 3 p.m. with new outage information

November 24, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Gusty winds howled across East County’s mountains and rural region last night and early today, Thanksgiving morning.  Strong winds are forecast to continue through Friday.

The National Weather Service reports peak gusts as high as 89 miles per hour on Sill Hill near Descanso and 75 mph on Cuyamaca Peak in San Diego’s inland region between 10 p.m. last night and 10 a.m. today. Many other local areas had strong winds as well.

SDG&E reports outages in Campo, Dulzura, and Potrero with power restoration expected around 6 p.m. due to a foreign object hitting a power line, putting a damper on Thanksgiving cooking. In Granite Hills/Bostonia areas of El Cajon, outages have left people without power until an estimated 6 p.m. power restoration time. Two outages in the Julian, Wynola, Pine Hills and Santa Ysabel areas is due to have power restored around 5:30 p.m. Outages in East County have a 4 p.m. projected power restoration time. An earlier outage in Live Oak Springs, Boulevard and Jacumba, has been restored. Find out the latest outage info at to the SDG&E outage map.  


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SWEETWATER DRAINS LOVELAND RESERVOIR TO DEAD POOL LEVEL TO SAVE ITS RATEPAYERS MONEY-- AT THE EXPENSE OF RURAL RESIDENTS, WILDLIFE, AND FIRE PROTECTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo  left:  water drains from Loveland Reservoir in Alpine to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay;

Photo, right: bare mudflat at Loveland, once  400 surface acres, now doomed to be dropped to just 10.

November 23, 2022 (Alpine) – Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego's East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so.

The water is being transferred to Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.

But critics say  the action is destroying habitat for wildlife, perhaps forever, also eliminating fishing at the area's only reservoir with free fishing access, and threatening firefighters' ability to combat fast-moving wildfires .  Critics also contend that draining the reservoir so low is unnecssary at current drought levels. Yet the people most negatively impacted have no representation on the SWA board, which doesn't include East County.

Audio: 


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SUNBEAMS

November 22, 2022 (Alpine) -- Josh Stotler snapped this inspirational image of a starburst sun beaming morning rays onto a field in Alpine, California. 


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SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR MURDER IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

November 22, 2022 (Spring Valley) -- Two men have been arrested for the murder of 32-year-old Jorkim Rose in Spring Valley. Authorities believe the killing was gang related.


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MOTORCYCLIST, 60, INJURED IN SPRING VALLEY CRASH

East County News Service

 

November 21, 2022 (Spring Valley) – A 60-year-old man from National City suffered serious injuries early this morning in a motorcycle crash in Spring Valley.


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ENCHANTED VILLAGE IN SPRING VALLEY DEC. 16-22

East County News Service

November 21, 2022 (Spring Valley) - Noah Homes in Spring Valley invites you to its annual Enchanted Village December 16-22 from 5-8 p.m. 

Guests will  stroll through acres of brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, light tunnels, live entertainers, and over a million lights with interactive displays and other festive decorations. Santa will be at the Enchanted Village every night for photos with guests. 

Donations are requested to support lifelong homes for people with developmental disabilities at Noah’s Homes.  For more information, visit enchantedvillage.org/.  


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LIONS TIGERS & BEARS HOSTS THANKSGIVING TURKEY BASH NOV. 25-26

East County News Service

November 20, 2022 (Alpine) – You’re invited to watch rescued big cats and bears enjoy their Thanksgiving feast during the annual Turkey Bash at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine. Reserve in advance for Friday or Saturday, Nov. 25 or 26.


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