Rural communities

COMMUNITY: JOIN THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT FOR NIGHT OUT AGAINST CRIME

 

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff's Department

July 27, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Join the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for FREE Night Out Against Crime© events on Tuesday, August 2nd. Sheriff's Stations and Substations all over the county will be hosting block parties to take a stand against crime.

Activities vary by location and may include free food, drinks, giveaways and activities for kids. Night Out Against Crime© is a celebration of community relationships. Meet your neighbors, as well as deputies who patrol your area. All locations will have a Sheriff's Crime Prevention Specialist on site so you can get tips on how to stay safe. See below for a community near you or visit www.sdsheriff.net:

GROCERY STORE BOYCOTT BEGINS: STORES IN LA MESA AND SPRING VALLEY AMONG THOSE TARGETED

East County News Service

July 27, 2016 (San Diego)—A boycott of six Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons grocery store locations is underway starting this week, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union in San Diego has announced.  If no contract agreement is reached by August 8th,the union has voted to call a strike against all of the stores’ locations throughout southern California.

The boycott locations include two in East County:  the Vons store at 8011 University Ave. in La Mesa and the Albertsons at 9831 Campo Road in Spring Valley.

PETITION LAUNCHED TO SAVE EAST COUNTY LAKES--AND PROTECT LIVES DURING WILDFIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2016 (Lake Morena) – An online petition has been launched asking the City of San Diego to stop draining Lake Morena and Barrett Lake. Rural residents seek help from San Diego residents and all who are concerned about wildlife or the prospect of a devastating firestorm to sign the petition.

The petition, posted by Campo resident Karen Noblitt-McIntyre, accuses San Diego officials of ignoring public safety, noting that two residents died during the recent Border Fire. Firefighting aircraft were diverted to water sources farther away due to lack of water in these lakes, witnesses stated in recent public meetings.

The petition states that the city has put wildlife and rural communities at risk, also failing to live up to its promise to repair the dam at Lake Morena. The city drained Lake Morena to less than 3% of capacity and Barrett Lake to below 6% of capacity, public records indicate.  Although San Diego claimed it needed drinking water during the drought, the city did not ask its residents to conserve water before draining East County’s lakes.  The water was pumped to Otay reservoir, which overfilled when rain fell, so the city dumped the precious water supply into the ocean.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD TO CONSIDER CANCELLING PEPPER DRIVE FIRE STATION, PURSUING ANNEXATION OF CSA 115 BY LAKESIDE FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Miguel Fire Protection District board meets Wednesday, July 27th at the district board room at 2850 Via Orange Way, Spring Valley.  The board will discuss possible action to reestablish discussions with Lakeside Fire District over a possible joint annexation of County Service Area (CSA) 115, a 441-acre parcel that includes the planned Pepper Drive fire station.  The board will also consider halting development of Station 19 at Pepper Drive pending results of discussions with Lakeside Fire District over annexation.

In addition, board members will discuss and may take action to approve recommendations from the Transitional Ad Hoc Committee regarding a contract for a Transitional Consultant and may approve appointment of a Transitional Consultant.  Purchase of a fire prevention vehicle will also be considered.

SHOOTING ON BLM LANDS BANNED FOR FIRE SEASON—BUT SOME RESIDENTS SAY MORE ENFORCEMENT IS NEEDED TO PREVENT FIRES IN BACKCOUNTRY

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Effective July 1st, the Bureau of Land Management has banned all recreational shooting on its federal lands in San Diego County due to high fire hazard declared by the California Department of Forestry.

BBQ AND DANCE AUGUST 6 IN ALPINE TO HELP CANCER SURVIVOR VICKI HALSEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2016 (Alpine) — Secret Hills Ranch in Alpine is hosting a barbecue, dance and silent auction on August 6th to help fund medical bills for colon cancer survivor Vicki Halsey, a horse trainer and advocate for children. The deadline for pre-purchasing dinners is August 1.

WANT TO RUN FOR A LOCAL OFFICE? FILING DEADLINE IS OPEN NOW THROUGH AUGUST 12

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The filing period to run for local offices is now open, closing August 12.   Concerned citizens can often make positive differences in their communities by become elected officials serving as members of school boards, community planning groups, fire boards, water boards, hospital districts, city councils, or as mayors.

DOGS WHO LOST OWNERS IN BORDER FIRE NOW AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

 

East County News Service

July 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The County’s animal shelter in Bonita is still seeking good homes for five of the dogs owned by Jim and Kyrie Keefe, the Potrero couple who perished in the Border Fire.  You can view the dogs in this video. Ideally, Animal Control hopes the dogs can be adopted by someone with a large yard and other dogs.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE LAND TRANSFER TO CAMPO NONPROFITS

 

East County News Service

July 24, 2016 (Campo) – Last week, County Supervisors voted to convey 247 acres in Campo to several nonprofit organizations, including Mountain Health and the Pacific Southwest Museum, to expand historical, civic and educational opportunities for rural residents and visitors.

INSURANCE RATES IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE SHOULD NOT BE IMPACTED BY SHIFT TO STAND-ALONE DISTRICT, DIRECTOR SAYS

By Miriam Raftery

July 13,2016 (Spring Valley) – A reader of ours posed two questions regarding the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District board’s decision to drop its contract with Cal Fire and begin the process of returning to being a stand-alone district.

Our reader asked whether the change would affect ISO ratings, which determine property owners’ insurance rates. He also inquired whether the district had considered a partnership with Heartland Fire, as the cities of La Mesa, El Cajon and Lemon Grove have done.

COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION TO HEAR SWEETWATER PLACE PROPOSAL ON FRIDAY, JULY 15

 

East County News Service

July 13, 2016 (Spring Valley) – The proposed Sweetwater Place  residential project in Spring Valley will be considered  Friday by the County Planning Commission. This project has twice been rejected by the Spring Valley Community Planning Group.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the County’s conference center hearing room at 5520 Overland Ave. in San Diego. Public testimony and participation are encouraged.

The applicant seeks a General Plan Amendment , rezoning and a tentative map and site plan to build 122 condominiums and a two-acre public park on an 18-acre property. The project includes a trail along Jamacha Boulevard that connects to new park and a new bus stop on Jamacha Boulevard.

RURAL SHERIFF’S OFFICE RESPONDS TO BORDER FIRE CONCERNS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 13, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Captain Hank Turner from the Sheriff’s Rural Substation in Campo has reached out to address concerns raised by residents at recent public meetings regarding issues that arose during the Border Fire.

Those concerns have prompted two avenues for potential  reforms:  an internal investigation regarding a search for two missing people found dead 10 days after the fire, and an action report  on a broader set of issues, along with recommendations forchanges for the future.

“I’ve lived in East County most of my life. I’m glad to be working out here; my kids go to school with the people out here, and if a fire hits, I’m not living in La Jolla,” Captain Turner told East County Magazine. “I’m living out here and I’m going to be working out here during the fires.”

FREE SUMMER MOVIES AT SPRING VALLEY COUNTY PARK

 

East County News Service

July 13, 2016 (Spring Valley) - You're invited to bring a picnic, your family and your furry, four-legged friend to Spring Valley County Park (8735 Jamacha Blvd.) for a free movie this Friday night, July 15, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGO LACKS ADEQUATE RESERVOIRS, VICTIMIZES LAKE MORENA

 

By George Barnett

Photo:  Cabin with former lakefront view now overlooks a barren wasteland.

July 13, 2016 (Lake Morena) -- East County Magazine did a recent piece on Lake Morena and whether water levels were maintained too low to be a viable source of water for fire-fighting.  In the article, Billie Jo Jannen is quoted as saying if there’s a safety issue it needs to be examined.  Billie Jo is quite right.

CITY OFFERS SHALLOW RESPONSE TO SERIOUS CONCERNS OVER LAKE MORENA WATER LEVELS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2016 (Lake Morena) – The City of San Diego has no plans to restore water levels in Lake Morena or take any actions whatsoever to remedy the harm done to the community by draining the lake—despite residents who have stated there was not enough water in the Lake for firefighting helicopters during the Border Fire, which killed two people and burned five homes, as ECM reported.

IN CAMPO, RESIDENTS AIR COMPLAINTS OVER BORDER FIRE ISSUES

 

Update: The Sheriff's office has responded to concerns raised at the Campo-Lake Morena meeting. View the response from Captain Hank Turner here:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/rural-fire-sheriff%E2%80%99s-office-re...

By Miriam Raftery

July 10,2016 (Campo) –At a packed meeting of the Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group this week, attendees spoke out to voice anger over officials’ treatment of residents during the  Border Fire, particularly issues involving law enforcement officers and County Animal Control. Chair Billie Jo Jannen stated, “We need to channel this outrage”  and circulated a draft letter to be sent to Supervisor Dianne Jacob following any changes after the public’s statements.

The first portion of the meeting focused on issues of not enough water in Lake Morena to fight the fires. (See our article on the Lake Morena issues here.)  The next agenda item focused on other Border Fire issues.

At a table in the back sat several  women who found the bodies of Jim and Kyrie Keefe during a search conducted by volunteers 10 days after the fire at the site where they lived in Dogpatch, just  east of Potrero. They voiced outrage over the fact that despite complaints to officials who did too little, too late, it fell to women volunteers to find the bodies.  The couple died of smoke inhalation in between boulders behind their home, where they apparently tried to take shelter during the wildfire.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE BOARD VOTES TO RETURN TO STAND- ALONE DISTRICT, TERMINATE CONTRACT WITH CAL FIRE

 

By Mike Allen

July 7, 2016 (Spring Valley) -- Some four years after contracting out its fire protection to Cal Fire, the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s board voted July 6 to begin the process of terminating that relationship.

MINIATURE DONKEYS SAVED DURING FIRE ARE STRICKEN BY ILLNESS

 

Fundraising site set up to help pay mounting vet bills

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: "Sweet", the youngest foal at Fantasy Donkeys, died of a mysterious ailment shortly after the Border Fire

July 9, 2016 (Campo) – In one of the most dramatic rescues during the Border Fire, the Humane Society helped evacuate 55 miniature donkeys from Fantasy Donkeys’ ranch in Campo to three different temporary shelters.  But after the fire passed and the herd returned home, Nearly two dozen donkeys fell ill and one young foal, Sweet Child of Mine, or “Sweet” for short, died. 

Thus began a desperate effort to save the remaining donkey.  Seven have required round-the-clock care on site and four had to be rushed to the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, where after intensive treatment for two weeks, they are now recovering. The ordeal has been a drain emotionally and financially, since owner Kim Fuson has had to take time off her job as a nurse to care for the ailing donkeys, while veterinary bills have climbed to nearly $20,000.

NOT ENOUGH WATER IN LAKE MORENA TO FIGHT BORDER FIRE, RESIDENTS SAY

 

“Precious moments were lost and that caused the fire to get out of control…Lives have been lost that may have been saved if they had been able to get water out of Lake Morena and not burned 6,000 acres in less than 12 hours.”—Karen McIntyre, Campo

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Karen McIntyre displays photos of Lake Morena before and after the City of San Diego drained away over 97% of the water.

July 8, 2016 (Campo)—At a heated meeting of the Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group,  residents vented anger over the loss of homes and lives during the Border Fire.  Some fault the City of San Diego for draining Lake Morena, claiming lack of water delayed firefighting aircraft responses.

The residents are demanding changes—and some are talking about legal remedies to take back control of their local water supply.

POTRERO RESIDENTS SEEK HELP TO SHELTER IN PLACE, ORGANIZE TO AID NEIGHBORS IN FUTURE FIRES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2016 (Potrero) –“How do we move forward now?”  Robert Buerer(photo,left), leader of the Potrero  Community Emergency Response (CERT) Team asked at  a Potrero Foundation disaster preparedness meeting on Saturday, July 3 in the aftermath of the Border Fire.

He wants to expand a Neighbor to Neighbor program that’s arisen out of Neighborhood Watch.   Each neighborhood would have a team leader and phone tree to spread word about alerts and evacuation notices to  neighbors.  To prevent a recurrence of the tragic loss of a couple trapped during the Border Fire with a broken-down vehicle, the program would enable neighbors to learn if someone needs help to evacuate or find a haven for those who choose to shelter in place.

MEMORIAL PLANNED JULY 10 FOR COUPLE WHO DIED IN BORDER FIRE

 

 

By  Miriam Raftery

Update July 6, 2016:  The Medical Examiner has confirmed the identity of James Peter Keefe,53 and also confirmed that the second body is that of his wife,but has not released her full name pending efforts to locate her relatives in Canada.

Memorial fund established for Jim and Kyrie Keefe

July 3, 2016 (Potrero) –A memorial service is planned for July 10th at 11 a.m. to commemorate Jim Keefe and his wife, Kyrie.  The service will be held at 28020 State Route 94 in Potrero,  the site where the young couple lived.  Bodies believed to be theirs were found by volunteer searchers among boulders 50 to 70 yards behind their home after the Border Fire.

“Let’s get together to honor them, talk to each other about what happened that tragic day, and salute two wonderful people who brightened our lives and made us smile. See their art, tell some stories on the mic, hear some music, walk the property, cry, hug,and laugh,” Claudia Millerbragg posted on the Potrero Town page on Facebook, adding that people should bring chairs.

COMMUNITY CLEAN-UP DAYS

 

East County News Service

July 3, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – You’re invited to bring your green waste, trash, waste and brush for disposal  at four community clean-up days  coming up in Potrero, Campo, Boulevard and Jacumba.  Free mulch and wood chips will also be available.  The clean-up days are all on Saturdays from 7 a.m.to 1 p.m.  Locations and dates are:

BRUSH FIRE IN DULZURA SHUTS DOWN HIGHWAY 94

 

East County News Service

July 3, 2016 (Dulzura) -- State Route 94 is shut down in both directions from Barrett Lake in Dulzura to State Route 188 due to a brush fire,according to Cal Trans.  The Barrett Fire is now 10 acres, Cal Fire reports.

The CHP website indicates the fire began when a motorcycle accident ignited dry brush.

STAR PARTIES AND MORE: SAN DIEGO ASTRONOMY ASSOCIATION EVENTS ALL SUMMER LONG

 

East County News Service

July 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - The San Diego Astronomy Association hosts events throughout the year.  You can visit their calendar or scroll down for events that the SDAA will be participating in or sponsoring in the next month–including several at East County locations. Inclement weather may postpone or cancel outdoor events, so check with the SDAA or the event coordinator to be sure the event is still scheduled.

BORDER FIRE SURVIVORS SHARE CONCERNS, OUTRAGE AT MEETING WITH SUPERVISOR JACOB, FIRE AND SHERIFF OFFICIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Emotions ran high at a community meeting on Border Fire issues convened by Supervisor Dianne Jacob this morning at the Barrett Junction Café in Dulzura.

 Rural residents praised efforts of firefighters, but voiced frustrations and pointed criticisms over problems that arose including lack of adequate care for animals in the evacuated areas and at shelters. communications failures, and inadequate help to locate a missing couple found dead yesterday by volunteer searchers in Potrero.

Jacob  converted a  previously planned coffee with the community event into a forum for the public to air concerns and for officials to respond.  Representatives from Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Department turned out, but Animal Services did not.  “Not being here is not a good thing,” Jacob said of Animal Services, adding that she has heard many complaints from rural residents about both Animal Services and the Sheriff’s Department.

EMERGENCY MEETING ALERT: BORDER FIRE SURVIVORS -THURS 8 AM AT BARRETT CAFE

 

June 29, 2016 (Barrett Junction)--Supervisor Dianne Jacob has pulled together an emergency meeting in response to all the concerns raised by Border Fire survivors. The meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the BarrettCafe, 1020 Barrett Lake Road in Dulzura.

A note from her office states: "She will be there with Fire Officials, Sheriff's Department, Office of Emergency Services, Animal Services, BLM, Border Patrol to listen to residents' concerns andanswer questions. This meeting was scheduled already. Sup Jacob has quickly reformed it to include the very people who need to hear from residents there on the ground.  She is well aware of the concerns you've shared with her office."

BORDER FIRE CLAIMS HOME OF SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ WAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2016 (Potrero) -- The  Border Fire destroyed five homes, ravaging lives and memories.  In Potrero, one of the families whose home burned had already suffered a devastating loss. 

Their son, Army Sgt. Brud Cronkrite,  was killed in Karbala, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired into a nearby building while he was on a security patrol during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. He was born and raised in Potrero, before joining the Army and deploying first to Kuwait, then Iraq. He was 22 years old when he lost his life in service to his country.

TWO BODIES FOUND IN POTRERO ON PROPERTY BURNED BY BORDER FIRE WHERE INJURED DOG WAS FOUND

 

Update:  The Medical Examiner's office has identified the bodies found as Jim and Kyrie Keefe, who died of heat-related injuries.

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2016 (Potrero) – Two bodies have been found in a rocky crevasse in Potrero by volunteer community members who organized a search this morning, multiple sources have informed East County Magazine. 

The bodies were found at a site burned by the Border Fire, 10 days after the blaze began, Reporting San Diego’s Nadin Abbott, first media at the scene, and Deerhorn Valley Antler Editor Kim Hamilton both confirmed.

The bodies have not yet been identified,  but were found during a search for Jim Keefe, known as “Barefoot Jim” and  his wife or girlfriend who neighbors knew as “Kyrie.”   As ECM reported last night, neighbors launched the search themselves, voicing frustration that their repeated efforts to get help from a Sheriff’s official for days failed to lead to a serious search of the property and vicinity.

“Spent 15 minutes and picked up smell,” Hamilton told ECM in an e-mail. “Located bodies on hillside tucked into a pocket in the boulders. Exactly what has ben communicated to sheriffs from the beginning.”

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