Rural communities

COMMUNITY MEETING IN ALPINE DRAWS HUNDREDS OVER EMF CONCERNS

 

 

"When a child could get cancer, you take action." --  Alpine resident Bree Rowand (photo, left), mother of Kylie Rowand, toddler who died of neuroblastoma.

"We're here because we'd really like to ease your minds...There is no conclusive evidence that EMFs cause health risks....You have EMFs probably everywhere you go. They are coming out of your cell phone." -- Don Parent, SDG&E, which offered to conduct free measurements for any concerned property owners.

"I'm very concerned for the health of my students and health of my staff...but right now we have having safe levels [in classrooms.]" -- Bruce Cochrane, Superintendent, Alpine Union School District, adding that campus-wide results of an independent expert will be posted Friday.

"This is a failure in our system. Regulatory agencies should be the ones monitoring...If every one of you would e-mail the president of the California Public Utilities Commission as I have and ask as I have for someone to come down here and meet with the community, maybe we will get results."

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2016 (Alpine) – Over 230 people came to a community meeting at Alpine Elementary School Tuesday evening to learn more about electromagnetic field measurements in Alpine, ask questions of local officials and SDG&E, voice concerns and at times, shout out frustrations. (View video highlights from 10 News.)

IS IT GERRYMANDERING? FINAL VOTE THURS. ON GROSSMONT REDISTRICTING: ALPINE AND CHALDEAN ADVOCATES OBJECT, ASK PUBLIC HELP

 

By  Miriam Raftery

February 23, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)—Grosssmont-Union High School District’s board is expected to cast a final vote Thursday at 4 p.m. on controversial redistricting maps. The board will also vote to seek a waiver from the state from a requirement that would ordinarily requiring putting the redistricting measure on the ballot, and waiver from a state requiring that new trustee area plans be in effect at least 120 days before the next election in November.  (View meeting notice. The meeting will be at the East County Regional Education Center, 924 East Main Street, El Cajon.)

The district contends it has acted appropriately in response to a threat of legal action over alleged voting rights violations. But critics say the plan would oust the board’s most outspoken dissenting member, Priscilla Schreiber, leave Alpine represented by an opponent of the Alpine High School, and divide Iraqi-Chaldean residents into multiple districts, diluting their power as a voting block.  It also carves out a new district in the Lemon Grove/Spring Valley area with no trustee currently residing in that district, which does have a history of representing people of color.

11-YEAR-OLD KILLED IN CRASH AT CAMPO CHECKPOINT

 

East County News Service

February 22, 2016 (Campo) — An 11-year-old girl died in a fiery three-vehicle crash at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 westbound in Campo.  Four other people are hospitalized with moderate to major injuries from the collision last night at 9 p.m.

SDG&E RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS ON ALPINE ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD (EMF) LEVELS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Sunrise Powerlink (left) transmits 500 kilovolts of electricity above ground across most its its route, but was installed underground in Alpine, where it flows beneath the main street in  the rural mountain town.

February 20, 2016 (Alpine) – East County Magazine reached out to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)  after reviewing results of two studies measuring electromagnetic field (EMF) levels in Alpine. (The first study, done by an engineer and contractor, found high levels along Alpine Blvd. above the underground Sunrise Powerlink. The second, commissioned by the County Office of Education, measured levels at Alpine Elementary School.  It found relatively low levels at most places on the campus, though two outside areas nearest the boulevard were higher, one substantially so. View details here.) Those reports raised concerns among some community members about potential health risks for chlidren, though medical studies have shown conflicting results on this issue.

We asked SDG&E if it has plans to measure EMF levels at other locations, what EMF levels it would consider safe, what  fixes or mitigation might be possible, and what EMF research the company supports. Below are our questions and the answers provided by Allison Torres, SDG&E media representative:  

ALPINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION AGREES TO FUND INDEPENDENT EMF STUDIES

 

Superintendent issues correction: EPA has not issued recommended EMF safe levels.

Meetings Feb. 23 and 25  will address EMF issues in Alpine.

By Miriam Raftery

February 20, 2016 (Alpine)—The Alpine Education Foundation has agreed to fund hiring a professional independent expert to measure electromagnetic frequency (EMF) readings along the route of the buried Sunrise Powerlink in Alpine, AEF president George Barnett has informed East County Magazine.

COMMUNITY FORUM TO DISCUSS ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS FROM SDG&E UNDERGROUND TRANSMISSION LINES – FEB. 23 IN ALPINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

February 20, 2016 (Alpine) – A community forum to discuss electromagnetic fields from SDG&E’s underground transmission lines will be held on Tuesday, February 23 at 6 p.m. in the Alpine Elementary auditorium (1850 Alpine Blvd.)  You’re invited to join the Alpine Union School District, Supervisor Dianne Jacob and members of her administration for this informal discussion.

ALPINE POWERLINK CONCERNS SPARK RESPONSES

 

New EMF readings at Alpine Elementary have lower levels; district offers reassurance to parents

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2016 (Alpine) –  Alpine planners, school officials, and SDG&E have weighed in with responses to publication of meter readings that revealed high electric-magnetic frequency (EMF) levels along Alpine Boulevard, where Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines are buried. The readings were first published in the Alpine Sun and later highlights, analysis and community reactions were published in East County Magazine and the Alpine Community Network.

JACOB CALLS FOR CPUC INVESTIGATION OF HIGH EMF LEVELS IN ALPINE ALONG POWERLINK ROUTE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Supervisor Dianne Jacob, speaking against Powerlink at a 2010 rally

Update:  SDG&E, the Alpine Union High School District, and the Alpine Community Planning Group have responded to community concerns.  The County Board of Education has measured levels at the Alpine Elementary School and found them within EPA recommended levels. SDG&E has offered to meet with any concerned residents or business owners and take measurements. We have also provided additional a broader range of studies on possible health issue.  See our new article here with the latest details: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/alpine-powerlink-concerns-spark-responses 

February 17, 2016 (Alpine) – Today, Supervisor Dianne Jacob sent a letter to California Public Utilities Commission chairman Michael Picker requesting an immediate investigation and independent review of high electric magnetic field (EMF) levels in Alpine. Copies of Jacob’s letter were sent to Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and all CPUC commissioners.

SHOT FIRED BY DEPUTY IN BOULEVARD DISTURBANCE

 

East County News Service

February 16, 2016 (Boulevard) – A Sheriff’s deputy fired a shot early this morning at a domestic violence suspect who reportedly charged out of a home in Boulevard, screaming a waving a shovel. The deputy’s shot missed and the suspect, 19-year-old Reid Wohlford, barricaded himself inside the home, but was later apprehended with help from a K-9 dog.

HIGH EMF LEVELS FOUND ALONG ALPINE BOULEVARD ON POWERLINK ROUTE: LEVELS NEAR SCHOOL SITES RAISE CONCERNS

 

 

Update:  SDG&E, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Alpine Union School District and the Alpine Community Planning Group have issued responses to the concerns raised by this study; also the County Dept. of Education had new EMF readings taken at the Alpine Elementary School that appears to have reassuring results for parents.  View responses:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/alpine-powerlink-concerns-spark-responses.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2016 (Alpine) -  Electric magnetic field (EMF) levels along the route of the underground Sunrise Powerlink high voltage line have been measured at dramatically higher levels than before the line was installed.  High EMF levels have been linked to leukemia in some studies. 

FIRST “FLOWERS IN THE MOUNTAINS” GARDEN TOUR BLOOMS MAY 7

 

 

East County News Service

April 15, 2016 (Alpine) – The Alpine Woman's Club will host its inaugural “Flowers in the Mountains” garden tour on May 7th.  Tickets for the garden tour are $15 each or $20 on day of the event, and may be purchased at Postal Annex, 2170 Alpine Blvd., or by sending your check to Rita David 2023 Running Mare Lane, Alpine CA 91901. For mail in orders and to purchase tickets you can pick them up on Sat May 7th at 9:30am at the Town Hall 2156 Alpine Blvd.

RESIDENTS VOICE CONCERNS OVER CHECKPOINT DELAYS ON HIGHWAY 94

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 8, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Motorists on State Route 94 report longer commutes in recent months due to delays at the Otay Border Patrol checkpoint south of Jamul, as well as construction of a casino at the Jamul Indian Village and existing delays due to Steele Canyon High School traffic.

“Since April, the lines at the checkpoint have been consistently long and wait times longer,”  Jan Hedlun, a Potrero resident who commutes to work in San Diego, wrote to the Border Patrol last September. She described backups of over two miles at the checkpoint at times, with waits of nearly a half hour. 

LUCK OF THE IRISH AT BARONS BACKROOM BEER PAIRING MARCH 16

 

 

Speakeasy pairs Irish-inspired appetizers, local brews to benefit San Diego Food Bank

 

East County News Service

 

February 11, 2016 (Alpine) – As luck would have it, St Patrick’s Day happens twice this year, and for a good cause. Dust off your favorite green outfit and join Barons Market, a locally owned grocery store that sells simply good food at simply good prices, on Wednesday, March 16 for a St. Paddy’s Day themed beer and food tasting with San Diego brewer, Modern Times. 

NONPROFIT SEEKS HELP TO SAVE CULTURAL RESOURCE IN ALPINE

 

 

By Joe Green

 

February 11, 2016 (Alpine) -- Alpine is in danger of losing a piece of its cultural history. Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) is working to protect a unique cultural resource at Wright’s Field in Alpine and in February 2016, the organization is hosting an emergency fundraiser to help save this important archeological site for future generations.

CAMPO FUNDRAISER MARCH 19 TO BENEFIT CANCER AND KIDNEY TRANSPLANT PATIENTS

 

By Lynn Neff

February 9, 2016 (Campo) - Come on out and join the fun at the Community Fundraiser in Campo on Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 2-6 pm at 976 Sheridan Rd.  The reason for this event, however, is no laughing matter.

SHERIFF LAUNCHES BODY CAMERA PILOT PROGRAM, INCLUDES EAST COUNTY LOCATIONS

 

East County News Service

February 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Sheriff Bill Gore has announced that his department will launch a pilot program to test body cameras.  The test period starts Friday, February 5th.  It includes the Lakeside substation, Rancho San Diego station and Rural Command covering much of East County as well as the North Coastal and Vista stations, plus deputies assigned to the Hall of Justice.

BACK COUNTRY LAND TRUST GETS AUTHORIZATION TO OVERSEE MITIGATION LANDS

 

East County News Service

February 1, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Founded in 1990, the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) began working with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2009 to protect lands in the Long Potrero Valley, located in the historic “Las Californias” region in the south-easternmost part of San Diego County.

SONS OF THE DESERT STARTS ITS 38TH YEAR OF SAPPINESS

 
 
By Liz Alper
 
January 31, 2016 (Spring Valley) - On a brisk, chilly night in Spring Valley, I and other members of the Saps at Sea, the San Diego Chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the official Laurel & Hardy fan organization, gathered at Williams Hall at Trinity Church for a night of laughter and delicious cake at intermission.

SUPERVISORS AGENDA INCLUDES SANDAG REGIONAL PLAN, FIRE SERVICE EXPANSION IN RURAL AREAS AND HEIGHT LIMITS IN LAKESIDE’S RIVERWAY

East County News Service

 

East County News Service

January 30, 2016 (San Diego's East County) – San Diego supervisors will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday,  February 2nd and 3rd this week.  The agenda includes some important items for East County.

BACKYARD FARMER MAKES MOST OUT OF SMALL SPACE

 

Update: Listen to our interview with Don Axe, aired on KNSJ Radio (click here)

 

By Brigitte Garcia

Photo: Don Axe and Brigitte Garcia

 

January 28, 2016 (Spring Valley) -- Spring Valley farmer Don Axe has used extra space in his backyard to create his own agricultural business, Valley View Urban Farm. He can now make anything from soap to ice cream. Axe has found a way to keep all different animals such as chickens, rabbits, goats, ducks, a pet dog and even a pot-bellied pig, also growing vegetables and fruits--all on just a half-acre lot.

 

He’s an accomplished farmer with four first place prizes won in the Del Mar Fair for his own homemade cheeses. You can learn what it takes to make his award winning mozzarella and more when he teaches his next cheese making class--one of several courses he teaches for those seeking farming opportunities in small spaces.

CALTRANS CLEARS WAY FOR HIGHWAY 94-125 CONNECTOR

 

East County News Service

 

January 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has determined that a proposed direct interchange to connect State Routes 94 and 125 would have no significant environmental impact. 

HONEY WINE BUSINESS BUZZING WITH SUCCESS, BUT OWNERS SAY HIGH FEES FORCE THEM TO LEAVE COUNTY

 

 

By Brigitte Garcia

 

January 26th, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dale and Mike Pearson wanted to start a new career after working in hazardous occupations.  So they founded Pearson and Pearson, a honey-wine making business in rural El Cajon. Now they’re savoring sweet success-- including a multi-million dollar deal pending to sell their products into Asia.

CITY NO LONGER DRAINING LAKE MORENA RESERVOIR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draining stopped days after our radio broadcast and coverage

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2016 (Lake Morena) – Back in February 2014, we ran a story exposing Lake Morena residents’ criticisms of the City of San Diego for draining the Lake Morena Reservoir down to a mere puddle of its former self.  We also aired a radio interview (listen at link) with area residents and a city representative, which won an award from Society of Professional Journalists for best talk radio broadcast. 

After the recent rains, the water level at Lake Morena is still only 2.6 percent of capacity. But here’s some good news for lakefront residents: Kurt Kidman, public information officer for the City, advised East County Magazine this week, “With respect to Morena Reservoir, the City stopped drafting water out of Morena Reservoir back in February 2014 and we have not resumed any drafting since.”

In our radio interview aired that same month, a city official admitted that San Diego had done essentially nothing to ask its citizens to conserve water before making its decision to decimate a lake popular with recreational users, eliminate wildlife habitat and negatively impact the lifestyle and property values for years  to come.

JURY RETURNS NEARLY $12 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST CALTRANS FOR VALLEY FEVER EXPOSURE IN CONTRACTOR’S WORKERS

East County News Service

January 22, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Residents in San Diego’s East County have raised fears of spreading Valley Fever spores in their arguments against projects ranging from a sand mine in Lakeside to solar projects in Boulevard and Jacumba.  Now a jury in Northern California has shown just how expensive a verdict might be for a government entity or company that ignores such risks.

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