Rural communities

HEAR OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS: NEW JAMUL TRIBAL LEADER AND CASINO MANAGER SPEAK OUT

 

 

Hear our exclusive interviews with Jamul Indian Village Tribal Chair Erica Pinto and Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego’s General Manager Richard St. Jean, originally aired on KNSJ Radio: http://k001.kiwi6.com/hotlink/5c9slyvgmt/TribalBeat-JamulIndianChair_and_CasinoManager.mp3

By Leon Thompson

Photo, left: Chairwoman Erica Pinto

August 17, 2015 (Jamul Indian Village) – As the long-planned Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego  nears completion following a recent topping-off ceremony, the Jamul Indian Village has elected a new Chairwoman, Erica Pinto and brought in Richard St. Jean as General Manager for the casino.  

Chairwoman Pinto is the first woman elected Chair of the tribe and was the youngest person ever elected to the tribal council in 1996, at the age of 21.  Her family traces its roots back as far as Jamul’s history itself—and now she has big dreams for her people and the community.

East County Magazine spoke with Chairwoman Pinto, along with the new General Manager of the casino, Richard St. Jean on plans for the new casino, in exclusive interviews on KNSJ radio.  See highlights below, and hear the full radio interviews  by listening here.

CHP AND SUPERVISOR JACOB RESPOND TO ECM INQUIRY ON 10-HOUR CLOSURE OF HIGHWAY 94

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Joseph Zatarain, Potrero Town on Facebook

August 18, 2015 (Jamul) – On Sunday, we reported on a 10-hour closure of State Route 94 last Friday due to a head-on collision involving a semi-truck that left many local residents stranded and angry by the long delays.  Our story included documentation of numerous past lengthy closures on the highway in the Jamul area provided by the Deerhorn Valley Antler editor.We asked the California Highway Patrol and Supervisor Dianne Jacob for comments on this serious issue.

Supervisor Jacob responded,  “The public has every reason to be outraged, given the length of the closure, the dangerously high temperatures that day and the lack of communication from state authorities. I will be sharing those concerns with the Caltrans, CHP and other state officials. Drivers are already at risk on this dangerous and congested state highway, and the situation will become even more dangerous if a casino opens. Thousands of lives are at risk in the event there is a need for an evacuation of the area with nowhere to go."

Kevin Pearlstein, public information officer for the California Highway Patrol in El Cajon, today advised East County Magazine that the delay was due in part to the truck shifting and dropping part of its load. 

"The truck was carrying a form of coal.  When the trailer opened up like a aluminum can it spilled everywhere," he said, adding that the prolonged road closure was due to cleanup of the coal spill.  The accident caused five injuries,two major and three minor to moderate, he added, and providing additional details:

RESIDENTS SEEK ANSWERS AFTER 10-HOUR SHUTDOWN OF HIGHWAY 94

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Joseph Zatarain, Potrero Town on Facebook

August 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --Friday, August 14th was a rough day for motorists in East County. A motorhome sparked a dozen spot fires along 67, forcing closure of the highway and long delays for motorists while firefighters worked to douse the blazes.

Even longer delays were experienced by motorists along Highway 94, which was shut down for roughly 10 hours along the key border-region artery after a semi-truck collided head on with a vehicle carrying several passengers and rolled over.  Inadequate notifications from official channels left motorists stuck in traffic for hours during extreme heat of over 100 degrees and an ambulance was forced to take a lengthy detour.

“Something is wrong here,” says Kim Hamilton, Editor of the Deerhorn Valley Antler. The publication's Antler Alerts  provided the most reliable source of information for the public during most of the extended shutdown.  “Not only was the primary artery and evacuation route closed, but there was little media coverage of it while it was taking place.”

"DAISY," STOLEN HORSE STATUE FOUND IN ALPINE

 

East County News Service

August 15, 2015 (Alpine)--A horse statue stolen from a front yard in Alpine is back home with its owner. The $650 bronze and copper decorative horse was found on a dirt road near the 700 block of South Glen Oaks Road in Alpine just after 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 15th.

A driver passing by saw the horse on the road and called the Alpine Sheriff's Station after recognizing the horse from a community safety bulletin.

A NIGHT IN HONOR OF OUR ANGELS: SEPT. 9 IN ALPINE

 

East County News Service

August 6, 2015 (Alpine) – For Childhood Cancer Awareness month, the Kylie Rowland Foundation is hosting “Wine and Bunco Under the Stars” on  Sept. 9 at 6 pm.. to raise funds for promising less-toxic cancer treatments for children. The foundation was started in memory of Kylie Rowland, who lost her battle to neuroblastoma at age two in February 2015.

CALTRANS HOLDS JAMUL MEETING AUG. 5 TO DISCUS HIGHWAY 94 MITIGATION

By Leon Thompson

August 3rd, 2015 (Jamul, California) - CalTrans is holding a public meeting on the State Route 94 Improvement Project including traffic safety issues related to the Hollywood Casino Jamul on Wednesday, August 5th from 5 to 8 p.m.at the Cottonwood Golf Course, 3121 Willow Glen Dr. El Cajon.

Caltrans, the State’s highway engineers, have proposed road improvement to portions of State highway 94 to handle the increased traffic including major road widening, turn lanes, lane painting, guard rails, signage, traffic signals and exit lanes.   The Jamul tribe has expended substantial sums to help fund improvements as mitigation for the new casino.

However some residents think the mitigation doesn’t adequately address all the problems, particularly near Steele Canyon High School and on Otay Road.  Steele Canyon road is especially important because of all the foot-traffic and teen drivers; Otay Road is the shortest distance to the casino from the Otay border crossing.

COUNTY TO ADD NEW TRAFFIC SIGNS NEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL IN ALPINE

 

July 30, 2015 (Alpne) In an effort to increase the safety of children at Joan McQueen Middle School, the County will be installing new traffic signs on Tavern near the school.   This effort was spearheaded by Mr. Murali Pasumarthi at the prompting of Kristen Gauss, JMMS Principal Jon McEvoy and Planning Group Members Tom Myers and Lou Russo.

CAMP MCGRATH OPENS AT THE MCGRATH FAMILY YMCA IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

 

Ribbon Cutting Thursday, August 6

July 29, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--YMCA Camp McGrath in Rancho San Diego will celebrate its ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.  The beautiful outdoor area, located at the McGrath Family YMCA - 12006 Campo Road, is in a position to provide a variety of recreation programs that allow camp kids and family members to enjoy a serene park atmosphere with numerous exciting features for the kids and the kids at heart.

EDISON SIGNS POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR TULE WIND, CPUC APPROVAL STILL NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: McCain Valley, site of planned 14,000 acre wind project

Photo, right: Blades being hoisted onto wind turbine in Ocotillo

Updated July 31, 2015 10 p.m. to include comments from SDG&E and from Howard Cook, former Jacumba Sponsor Group Chair.

July 30, 2015 (McCain Valley)—Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to buy electricity from the Tule Wind project planned in McCain Valley near Boulevard.

“We are still actively opposing Tule Wind and hope it never gets built,” Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine. Tisdale and the citizens’ group Backcountry Against Dumps have two legal challenges pending. Tisdale also chairs the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which voted against the project but was overruled by the San Diego County Supervisors, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob voting no and four other Supervisors voting for the project.

The agreement covers the first phase of the 14,000-acre project, which includes 67 turbines on federal Bureau of Land Management property at the gateway to the McCain Valley federal recreation area, as well as on privately-owned Rough Acres Ranch.

MAN SHOT IN SPRING VALLEY

 

July 26, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – Shortly after midnight Saturday morning, July 25th, Sheriff’s deputies from the Rancho San Diego station responded to a report of a shooting at an apartment at 1034 Leland Street.  Deputies found a 55-year-old man inside who had suffered a gunshot wound to his legs.

BRUSH FIRE AT LAKE MORENA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Claudia Millerbragg

Update: This fire is contained. Cal-Fire's Kendal Bortisser also confirms that firefighting planes were able to draw water from Lake Morena despite draining of the lake by the City of San Diego to about 3% capacity prior to the recent rains.

July 24, 2015 (Lake Morena) - A 30-acre brush fire is burning near Lake Morena County Park at Lake Morena and Lakeview.  Cal Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser informed ECM at 1:40 p.m. that there are no structure threats but voluntary evacuations are occurring at Lake Morena Village.

The fire is burning in medium to heavy vegetation with a moderate rate of spread.  Brush Fire Partyline on Facebook reports scanner traffic indicates power lines are down.

If you have  photos or eyewitness reports on this fire please send to editor@eastcountymagazine.org

GET OUR FREE WARNINGS OF FIRES, FLOODS & OTHER EMERGENCIES

 

July 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- Stay safe and informed!  East County Magazine's free wildfire and emergency alert service has been busy lately warning people here about flash floods, wildfires, roadway hazards and severe weather.

Our regional emergency alerts come via email, so you can get them even if phone lines burn down. You can also get alerts on your cell phone. Plus you can receive our free weekly newsletter with top news stories in our region.

Sign up today! It's FREE.  Click here.

BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED FOR INDIAN HILLS CAMP WATER SYSTEM IN JAMUL

Test Result Shows Total Coliform Bacteria Present in Drinking Water Supply

July 22, 2015 (Jamul)--The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Indian Hills Camp located at 15763 Lyons Valley Road, Jamul, CA 91935, effective immediately.  The water system serves 9 mobile homes, 15 recreational vehicle spaces, 2 dorms, 15 camp sites, 4 public restrooms with showers, 2 swimming pools, a kitchen and office building.

PROPERTY OWNERS MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR RAIN RECOVERY ASSISTANCE

County News Service

Photo: County crews work to clean up mud flow on Rutherford Road in Ramona, where over 3 inches of rain fell on Sunday.

July 20, 2015 (San Diego) -- The remnants of Hurricane Dolores created record rainfall in San Diego County, taking residents by surprise over the weekend. If your property or small business sustained damage from the weekend’s heavy rains and flooding, the County would like your help to estimate rain damages in our region.

The County Office of Emergency Services is asking storm-affected residents to complete a short damage survey form that will assist the County in collecting damage information and associated costs from the weekend’s heavy rains and flooding.

The information gathered from the surveys will be used to estimate total damages countywide and will determine if enough damages occurred to qualify the region for federal disaster assistance, such as low interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

LIVE TROPICAL BIRD SHOW: "THE MUSIC OF BIRDS" JULY 25 AT ALPINE LIBRARY

 

July 13, 2015 (Alpine)—A live tropical bird show, “The Music of Birds” will be presented on July 25th at 11 a.m. in the Alpine branch of the San Diego County Library (2130 Arnold Way, Alpine).

INFIGEN, OWNER OF KUMEYAAY WIND IN CAMPO, ANNOUNCES SALE OF ITS U.S. WIND ENERGY BUSINESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (Campo) – Infigen Energy, owner of the Kumeyaay Wind facility in Campo, announced last week that it has agreed to sell its entire U.S. wind business to Primary Wind Power, LLC, a new private equity firm.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA COLLECTIVES' PERMITS APPROVED IN RAMONA

 

 

East County News Service

July 13, 2015 (Ramona)—The County has approved building permits for two medical marijuana collectives in Ramona, the Ramona Sentinel reports. But before the facilities can open their doors to dispense or grow medical marijuana, they must first obtain approvals from the Sheriff’s Department.

WINERY OWNERS VOICE ALARM OVER PROPOSED ORDINANCE CHANGES

Update:  Hear our interview on KNSJ radio with Micole Moore, Ramona Valley Vineyards Association, and Elaine Lytleton, Hatfield Creek Vineyards and Winery, here:

http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/fmpwoizmfi/Newsmakers-Wineries-ElaineLytle....

 

Are the County's proposed changes rooted in 'sour grapes' complaints filed by competitors of successful new wineries?

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Several years ago, the County adopted a tiered winery ordinance designed to promote agriculture and help small “boutique” winery owners.  But now the County is proposing drastic changes.  At a packed hearing last week, numerous winery owners and heads of vintners’ associations turned out, most warning of dire harm to the region’s wine industry if the proposal is adopted.

“Should the changes proceed as written, many fear for the death of our budding wineries, eliminating our potential growth, impact and long-term commitment to our communities,” a letter to County program manager Joseph Farace signed by Teri Kerns and Micole Moore states. Moore is president of Ramona Valley Vineyard Association, which has over 100 members. Kerns is Editor in Chief of the Ramona Valley Wine Region Magazine. Together, the couple also owns Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery.

NEW RULES FOR REMOVING DEAD TREES IN FOREST AREAS

 

East County News Service

July 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Over 87,000 trees in San Diego County forests have died due to drought in the past year, the U.S. Forest Service found in an aerial survey conducted in April. Bark beetles have also decimated many trees locally and in forests statewide.

RAILWAY PLANS MOVE FORWARD FOR A BINATIONAL RAILROAD IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Trestle over Carrizo Gorge

July 8, 2015 (Campo) – Plans to revive the long-closed Desert Line freight railway from Campo to Imperial County appeared to be in danger of derailing after the Pacific Imperial Railroad fell behind in payments to the Metropolitan Transit System. But now the company has made its latest  half-million dollar payment to the Metropolitan Transit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.The 99-year-lease requires two such payments annually.

PINE VALLEY DAYS: PARADE, CRAFTS, MUSIC AND MORE JULY 24-25

 

July 9, 2015 (Pine Valley) --The Mountain Empire Men’s Club will present Pine Valley Days on July 24th and 25th.  This mountain town’s annual summer event includes a parade rolling out on July 25th  at 9 a.m., plus other activities both days at the Pine Valley Park (28810 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley).

BARONS MARKET RAISES $3,000 FOR SAN DIEGO FOOD BANK SOLD-OUT BACKROOM BEER PAIRING

 

July 7, 2015 (San Diego's East County) – On July 1st, 300 people flocked to their local Barons Market to enjoy cold brews and gourmet appetizers for the local speakeasy known as Barons Backroom Beer Pairings. Beer lovers and foodies in Alpine, Temecula, Wildomar, Rancho Bernardo and Point Loma helped the family-owned business raise $3,000 for the San Diego Food Bank in just two hours. After almost two years of perfecting its Backroom Beer Pairings, last night Barons hosted the event at all five locations in Southern California for the first time.

WATER AGENCIES TAKE DIFFERING APPROACHES TO STATE-MANDATED CUTBACKS

 

Helix, Padre and Otay Districts share info, tips at Chaldean Chamber meeting

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Representatives from Helix,  Padre Dam, and Otay Water districts spoke at a California Drought program hosted by the San Diego East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce on June 24th in La Mesa.

All three districts are working to make sure their customers comply with Governor Jerry Brown’s order for 25% cuts in water use statewide. But their approaches vary, ranging from educating consumers to offering rebates to one district readying to impose fines on heavy water users.

Here’s what you need to know:

COUNTY PROBATION TO CONSOLIDATE YOUTH CAMPS

 

Youth from the Juvenile Ranch Facility will be moved to the Camp Barrett facility by early August.

County News Service

July 3, 2015 (Camp Barrett)--Plunging juvenile populations are prompting San Diego County Probation to consolidate operations of its two camps for young people: Juvenile Ranch Facility in Campo and Camp Barrett youth facility in rural Alpine. Both camps house male youths.

SHERIFF DEPT. HOSTS COFFEE WITH COMMUNITY JULY 16 IN SPRING VALLEY

 

July 3, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The San Diego Sheriff invites you to “Coffee with the Community” on Thursday, July 16 from 8-10 a.m. at Cali Comfort Restaurant, 8910 Troy Street in Spring Valley.

7-YEAR-OLD SPRING VALLEY GIRL WITH BLOOD DISEASE GIVES BACK, CUTS HER TWO FEET OF HAIR

 

July 1, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Spring Valley resident Gabriella Martinez, 7, who goes by Ella, recently received a special haircut and found a way to give back to children needing hair replacement.

EAST COUNTY ANGELS WALK THE CITY OF ANGELS

 

By James Oson

June 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) -- Who says you have to hail from New York, London, or Paris to catch the eyes of a designer? Los Angeles based clothing designer Dawn Nguyen hand-picked these lovely East County models to wear her unique and classically elegant styles with luxurious fabrics at her recent Los Angeles show. These beauties, from Rancho San Diego and Jamul, lit up the night in Ms. Nguyen’s designs. Three of the models, Natalia Fulton, Ashley Lynch and Makayla Stevens, proudly represented East County with Ms. Nguyen at New York Fashion Week last Fall.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPEN ON PROPOSED CLOSURE OF HAZARDOUS LEAK MITIGATION IN SPRING VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2015 (Spring Valley ) – San Miguel Fire Protection Agency has sent a letter notifying the Spring Valley Planning Group that the County intends to close its case on contamination from underground leaking storage tanks at 905 Gillespie Drive in Spring Valley.  The proposal would leave petroleum hydrocarbon elements in the soil to degrade by natural processes under the state’s “Low-Threat Closure Policy.”

Public comments will be accepted from June 27 through  August 31st.

The fire district removed underground fuel storage tanks at its fire station on the site, Kevin Healy with the County's Enviornmental Health department advised East County Magazine. Under the state's policy, the contaminants can be left in place to degrade naturally if they are found to not pose a human health risk or adversely impact beneficial uses of surface water or groundwater.

304-ACRE SOLAR PROJECT PROPOSED IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS SPARKS CONTROVERSY

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

 “This is a recipe for disaster, potentially putting us in harm’s way AND increasing our already high fire insurance policies…This is a project that could generate dangerous chemical fires that when spread, could cause property damage as well as loss of life.”—Danielle Cook , member, Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Committee

June 13, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—A proposed industrial-scale solar facility near Jacumba is sparking heated controversy, with some residents raising concerns over fire danger and impacts on  local water supplies, wildlife, traffic and public safety.

NextEra Energy, a division of Florida Power and Light, wants to cover 108 acres of a 304 acre site in the Jacumba area with 81,109 solar photovoltaic modules on 2,253 tilting rack panels—along with a collector substation, transmission lines, and lithium battery energy story systems in containers the size of cargo cars.  Ultimately, the project would produce up to 20 megawatts of power, according to a draft environmental impact report prepared by the consulting firm DUDEK.

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